Sunday Night Football: Vikings Underdogs vs Packers at Lambeau

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The Minnesota Vikings will look to claim their first NFC North divisional crown since 2009 when they take on the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football as 3.5-point betting underdogs at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The 10-5 Vikings are coming off their second consecutive straight-up win, a decisive 49-17 victory over the New York Giants that clinched their first playoff berth since 2012.

Strong play on the road has powered Minnesota’s revival, with the club posting four SU wins in their past five contests ahead of Sunday night’s Vikings vs. Packers betting matchup at Lambeau Field.

But while the Vikings have dominated teams with losing records, outscoring the Giants and Chicago Bears by a combined 87-34 margin over the past two weeks, they have struggled against playoff-bound teams this season, going 1-4 SU and picking up their sole victory in a 16-10 win over Kansas City that capped the Chiefs’ early-season five-game SU losing skid.

The Packers limp home for their season finale after taking a 38-8 beating from the Arizona Cardinals last weekend. The loss ended a three-game SU win streak, and also handed Green Bay just their second loss against the spread in their last six games according to the OddsShark NFL Database.

Green Bay has held opponents to just 14 points per game in their last three at Lambeau. However, they have also struggled to generate offense, failing to crack 300 total yards in each of their last two, while pivot Aaron Rodgers has tossed under 220 passing yards in five of his last six, throwing interceptions in four of his last five outings.

The Packers have been a strong bet at home since the beginning of last season, posting a 14-2 SU record in 16 contests, 10-5-1 ATS, and have dominated the division rival Vikings over the past five years, going 10-1-1 SU in their past 12 overall, and 8-1-1 SU in their last 10 meetings at Lambeau, 7-3 ATS.

A win by the Packers on Sunday sets the stage for a possible rematch between the two clubs on Wild Card Weekend.

A victory by Green Bay gives the Packers their fifth straight division title and the No. 3 playoff seed, while a Vikings loss combined with a Seattle Seahawks win over the Arizona Cardinals drops Minnesota to the No. 6 seed.

A Seahawks loss to Arizona means that the loser of Sunday night’s clash will visit the NFC East champion Washington Redskins on Wild Card Weekend, with Seattle visiting the winner.

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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