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.

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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