Bengals, Texans betting underdogs in AFC Wild Card matchups

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The Cincinnati Bengals will be looking to halt a seven-game straight-up losing streak in the postseason, including Wild Card Weekend losses in each of the past four years, when they play host to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday night as 2.5-point betting underdogs at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The 12-4 Bengals enter the playoffs as the No. 3 seed in the conference, and as AFC North champs for the second time in three years. However, Cincinnati struggled in the second half of its campaign, going 4-4 SU in its last eight ahead of Saturday’s Steelers vs. Bengals betting matchup at Paul Brown Stadium, failing to tally a victory against a playoff-bound team during that stretch.

Compounding matters for the Bengals has been the absence of quarterback Andy Dalton, who suffered a broken thumb in the club’s 33-20 loss to Pittsburgh four weeks ago, and remains questionable for this weekend’s contest.

The 10-6 Steelers needed to overcome serious adversity before capturing a playoff berth with last weekend’s 28-12 win over Cleveland. Struck by injuries to rusher Le'Veon Bell and pivot Ben Roethlisberger, who was sidelined twice early in the season, Pittsburgh stumbled to a 4-4 start before coming to life in the second half.

The Steelers are enduring a playoff losing streak of their own, coming up short in their last three, also taking against the spread losses as betting favorites in their past two, but are a solid 4-1 SU and ATS in their past five against the division-rival Bengals according to the OddsShark NFL Database.

In the other AFC Wild Card Weekend matchup on Saturday, the AFC South champion Houston Texans will be gunning for their fourth straight SU win when they welcome the Kansas City Chiefs as 3.5-point betting underdogs.

The Texans have won seven of their past nine games both SU and ATS, and have been dominant during their current hot streak, allowing just 7.3 points per game in crucial wins over divisional rivals.

The 11-5 Chiefs reached the postseason on a torrid 10-game SU win streak, and also posted a 27-20 victory in Houston back on the opening weekend of the NFL season. However, Kansas City has consistently failed to meet increased expectations at the sportsbooks, losing three of their last four ATS, and are 2-4 ATS this season when favored by more than three points.

The Chiefs must also overcome an eight-game playoff losing streak dating back to 1994, scoring 10 or fewer points in five of those contests, and losing three outright as betting favorites.

Don Ohlmeyer, longtime network TV executive, dies at 72

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INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) — Don Ohlmeyer, the “Monday Night Football” producer who came up with the phrase “Must See TV” in leading NBC to the No. 1 prime-time spot, died Sunday. He was 72.

“It is with heavy hearts we share that Don Ohlmeyer, our beloved husband, father and grandfather, has passed away at age of 72 due to cancer,” Ohlmeyer’s family said in a statement. “Surrounded by loved ones, he died peacefully at his home in Indian Wells.”

Longtime friend Al Michaels announced Ohlmeyer’s death while broadcasting NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” game between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants.

Ohlmeyer won 16 Emmys, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, and two Peabody Awards.

Ohlmeyer became producer of “MNF” in 1972, teaming with director Chet Forte and the on-air crew of Howard Cosell, Don Meredith and Frank Gifford. In 2000 in his second “MNF” stint, Ohlmeyer put comedian Dennis Miller in the booth.

Ohlmeyer first worked for ABC Sports as a gofer while studying at Notre Dame and became a full-time production assistant in 1967 under Roone Arledge, working on “Wide World of Sports.” Along with his “Monday Night Football” work, he directed the network’s Olympic coverage and created “The Superstars.” Later at NBC Sports, he produced World Series and Super Bowl broadcasts.

After running his own Ohlmeyer Communications Company, he returned to NBC in 1993 as president of its entertainment division. He came up with “Must See TV” in the 1990s, when NBC’s rating soared with such hits as “Seinfeld,” ”Friends,” ”ER” and “Frasier.”

Watch Live: New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys on NBC

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The Dallas Cowboys host the New York Giants in a battle of NFC East rivals on Sunday Night Football.

Despite going 13-3 and earning the No. 1 seed in the playoffs last year, the Cowboys lost twice to the Giants in 2016, including a loss in Week 1. Dallas hopes to not have a repeat of last year and will rely on sophomores Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott to carry the load. Don’t be surprised if Elliott gets even more carries in this game because there is a possibility his six-game suspension is upheld and he will have plenty of time to rest up before he sees game action again.

The Giants will rely on their strong defense led by DB Landon Collins and DE Jason Pierre-Paul to try and get after Prescott and bottle up Elliott. On offense, New York is all about Eli Manning and the passing attack. Odell Beckham Jr. is expected to suit up, but it remains to be seen how big of a role he will have after injuring his ankle in the preseason. As a result, look for new additions WR Brandon Marshall and rookie TE Evan Engram, to go along with sophomore WR Sterling Shepard to step up for Manning.

Football Night in America

Start time: 7:00 p.m. ET

TV channel: NBC

Live stream: NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app

Giants vs. Cowboys

Start time: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV channel: NBC

Live stream: NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app