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Jaguars betting favorites in NFL Week 15 as AFC South race heats up

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The Jacksonville Jaguars can stay within one game of the AFC South division lead with a win when they host the free-falling Atlanta Falcons on Sunday as early 3-point betting favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The 5-8 Jaguars closed the gap on both Indianapolis and Houston in the tight divisional race with last week’s lopsided 51-16 win over the Colts, while the Texans were routed 27-6 by New England. The respective losses dropped both the Colts and Texans to 6-7 on the season ahead of their Week 15 clash in Indianapolis.

Jacksonville’s stunning victory ends a two-game SU losing streak and positions the club as intriguing 5/1 underdogs to win the division going into Sunday afternoon’s Falcons vs. Jaguars betting matchup at EverBank Field.

The Falcons travel to North Florida in the midst of a collapse that has seen them lose six consecutive straight-up decisions and their last nine against the spread.

Atlanta opened their 2015 campaign on a 6-1 SU tear, but have struggled with sloppy play, averaging just 14.3 points per game during their losing streak, which reached a new low with last week’s 38-0 loss to Carolina.

Betting trends are also of no comfort to the Falcons. Atlanta has won two of their last three against the Jaguars, but have never won in Jacksonville, who are 4-2 SU in their last six at home, according to the OddsShark NFL Database.

With quarterbacks Matt Hasselbeck and Bryan Hoyer both suffering injuries in their respective team’s losses, no early line was available for Sunday’s crucial Texans vs. Colts betting matchup at Lucas Oil Stadium.

However, Indianapolis owns the best record against division opponents, keeping them atop the odds at 2/3 to repeat as AFC South champions, followed by Houston at 19/10.

With both the Colts and Texans scheduled to face Tennessee down the stretch, the 3-10 Titans are poised to be kingmakers in the division. But Tennessee cannot afford to look past Sunday’s date with the Patriots, whom they visit as massive 14-point underdogs.

Tennessee is just 1-4 SU in their last five on the road following their blowout 30-8 road loss to the New York Jets last weekend, and are winless SU in their last five against the Patriots, 1-4 ATS.

In other NFL Week 15 betting action, the undefeated Panthers are 4-point chalk against the New York Giants, while the Jets visit the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday as 3-point favorites.

Bennett doesn’t fear backlash for skipping White House trip

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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

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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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