Undefeated Panthers, Patriots heavy favorites in Week 11

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The NFL’s two remaining undefeated teams will attempt to remain perfect this weekend, starting with the Carolina Panthers who welcome the Washington Redskins to town on Sunday as 8.5-point betting favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The 9-0 Panthers rolled to a lopsided 27-10 win over Tennessee last weekend, easily covering as 3.5-point favorites to improve their against-the-spread record to 7-2.

Carolina has experienced a dramatic reversal of fortune since opening the 2014  season with a dismal 3-8-1 record including an eight-game winless stretch. Since then they have been nearly unstoppable, entering Sunday’s Redskins vs. Panthers betting matchup on a 14-1 SU run with just two ATS losses in their last 12 games.

Quarterback Cam Newton has been the straw that stirs the Panthers drink, racking up 2,037 passing yards and 15 touchdown passes along with an impressive 366 rushing yards and six touchdown runs, accounting for at least two scores in each of the Panthers’ last eight games. As well, the Panthers defense has held opposing rushers to just 67.5 yards per game in their last two, and a sixth-ranked 19.4 points per game.

The Redskins travel south following a crushing 47-14 rout of the New Orleans Saints, improving their SU record to 4-5, just a half-game back of the idle New York Giants in the hotly-contested NFC East.

Their 47-point outburst was their biggest since a 45-41 win over Chicago in Week 7 of the 2013 season, but they have failed to post consecutive straight-up wins this season, and are 0-8 SU in their last eight on the road according to the OddsShark NFL Database.

The New England Patriots will also look to move to 10-0 when they host the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football as 7-point favorites.

Last week the Patriots avoided a fourth straight loss to their arch-nemesis, the Giants, escaping with a 27-26 last-second victory, but have struggled to meet lofty expectations at the sportsbooks with just two ATS wins in their last five games.

The Bills have won two straight SU, both against AFC East divisional rivals, and are 4-1 SU in their last five on the road, starting with a 17-9 win in Foxboro in Week 17 of last season.

In other NFL Week 11 betting action the Titans visit the surging Jacksonville Jaguars as 2.5-point underdogs on Thursday night, while the Bears host the stumbling Denver Broncos as 1.5-point chalk, and the previously undefeated Cincinnati Bengals visit the Arizona Cardinals in a game pegged as a pick’em.

Bennett doesn’t fear backlash for skipping White House trip


HOUSTON (AP) Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett says he is not worried about upsetting team owner Robert Kraft by not attending New England’s trip to the White House as Super Bowl champions.

Bennett said after the Patriots’ 34-28 win over the Falcons on Sunday night that he’s “not going to go” to the traditional meet-and-greet with the president. It will be the first visit of a Super Bowl champion to Washington since Donald Trump was sworn into office.

Trump’s positions have alienated some athletes, which has raised questions about whether some might choose to skip the trip while the new president is in office.

But Bennett said he isn’t concerned about it and thinks the team believes “in whatever I want to do.”

Kraft is a supporter of Trump and attended a celebration dinner in Washington for him the night before his inauguration.

Patriots’ Tom Brady earns 4th Super Bowl MVP trophy with epic comeback


HOUSTON (AP) The greatest quarterback in NFL history led the biggest Super Bowl comeback to be the MVP on Sunday night.

Tom Brady rallied New England from a 25-point third-quarter deficit for a 34-28 win over the Atlanta Falcons in the first overtime game in Super Bowl history to earn his fifth Super Bowl title and fourth MVP trophy.

“They’re all sweet,” he said. “They’re all different and this was just an incredible team and I’m just happy to be a part of it,” he said.

Brady threw touchdown passes of 5 and 6 yards in the second half and tied things at 28-28 when he connected withDanny Amendola on a 2-point conversion with 57 seconds left.

He then directed the drive in overtime which ended with a 2-yard run by James White to make the Patriots the first team to win a Super Bowl after trailing by more than 10 points.

“We all brought each other back,” he said. “We never felt out of it. It was a tough battle.”

His performance certainly wasn’t without its struggles. His incredible second half and overtime came after a first half where the Patriots managed just three points and he threw an interception which Robert Alford returned 82 yards for a touchdown. He was hurried and harassed for much of the games. The Falcons sacked him five times and hit him on another eight occasions.

He noted the beating he took when he was trying to recount the details of the comeback and couldn’t remember what the score was at one point in the rally.

“There was a lot of (stuff) that happened tonight,” he said. “I got hit pretty hard.”

His 466 yards passing are a Super Bowl record, surpassing the 414 yards Kurt Warner had 17 years ago. He also set a record for most passes completed in a Super Bowl with 43 and most attempts with 62.

He is the first to play in seven Super Bowls and the victory ties him with Charles Haley for most Super Bowl rings.

After all Brady has done in his career, was this his finest moment?

“Tom’s had a lot of great ones,” coach Bill Belichick said. “But, yeah tonight was one of them.”

It’s a triumphant end to a difficult season for Brady, who missed the first four games because of his “Deflategate” suspension and dealt with his mother Galynn Brady suffering through an undisclosed illness. The Super Bowl was the first game she’s attended all season.

“They’re all happy,” he said fighting back tears. “It’s nice to have everybody here and it’s going to be a great celebration tonight.”

He shared a quick moment with her right after the game, but was looking forward to more time with her in the upcoming days.

“It’s kind of madness after the game so I didn’t get much quality time with her but we’ll get it this week,” he said.

But he certainly wasn’t asking for sympathy for his rough road to this title though, chuckling when someone asked about the adversity the Patriots have gone through in the past couple of years.

“We’ve done pretty good over the last few years … so I don’t think anyone’s feeling bad for the Patriots,” he said. “I don’t think anyone feels bad for the Patriots.”

Brady also collected the MVP trophy in 2001, 2003 and 2014.

“It was just a lot of mental toughness by our team and we’re going to remember this one for the rest of our lives,” Brady said.

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