Broncos host Patriots as AFC Championship Game underdogs

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The Denver Broncos will be gunning for a third straight home victory over New England, and a second Super Bowl berth in three years, when they play host to the Patriots in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game as 3-point betting underdogs at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Denver set the stage for a rematch of the 2014 AFC title game with a 23-16 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers last weekend, but takes a five-game winless streak against the spread into Sunday’s Patriots vs. Broncos betting matchup at Sports Authority Field.

The Broncos wrapped up their regular season with the NFL’s best defense, allowing just 283.1 total yards per game while giving up a fourth-best 18.5 points per game, and have fared well at the sportsbooks when pegged as underdogs, going 3-1 SU and ATS including a stunning 30-24 overtime victory over the Patriots on Sunday Night Football on Thanksgiving weekend.

New England travels to the Rockies for a fifth straight appearance in the conference championship following a 27-20 win over the Kansas City Chiefs last Saturday.

That victory snapped a two-game SU losing streak. However, the Patriots have been a shaky bet on the road, covering in just two of six away from Gillette Stadium since opening the season with a pair of convincing victories in Buffalo and Dallas.

The Patriots’ struggles at the sportsbooks also extend to recent postseason road contests.

New England is a mere 3-7 SU and 4-6 ATS in their past 10 road playoff games dating back to 1987, but an impressive 8-3 SU overall in their past 11 postseason contests, going undefeated SU in their last four, 3-1 ATS, according to the OddsShark NFL Database.

Sunday’s clash also marks the 17th meeting all-time between rival quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. The future Hall of Famers last met on the gridiron in November 2014 with New England grabbing a 43-21 home victory as 3-point underdogs, giving Brady an 11-5 SU edge in 16 head-to-head clashes.

However, it is Manning who has led his team to victory in the past two postseason meetings between the two stars, denying the Patriots a Super Bowl berth two years ago with the Broncos’ 26-16 victory as 4.5-point favorites in the 2004 AFC Championship Game after powering the Indianapolis Colts to a 38-34 win as 3.5-point chalk in the 2007 AFC title game.

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