Patriots over a touchdown favorite at Denver for Sunday night matchup

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Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, on top of facing the best defense they have seen all season, also carry some inauspicious trends into Denver.

The Patriots are listed as 7.5-point road favorites against the Broncos with a 44-point total for the NFL Week 10 Sunday night matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

New England is on a four-game win streak, but the OddsShark NFL Database shows it is 9-1 straight-up and 4-6 against the spread in its last 10 road games as a favorite of 7.5 or more points. The Patriots are coming out of their bye week but are 2-4 ATS in their last six regular-season games after a bye. The Broncos are 2-6 ATS in their last eight games in November.

New England, which is 6-2 SU and 4-4 ATS this season, will not have some crucial members of Brady’s supporting cast alongside as it challenges the NFL’s No. 2-ranked defense. Wide receiver Chris Hogan (shoulder) is out and so is RT Marcus Cannon. That could affect whether the Patriots, who lost to the Carolina Panthers in their only other game against a top-10 defense, can burn CBs Chris Harris, Aqib Talib and Bradley Roby.

Brady will likely have to count on RB James White and WR Brandin Cooks as outside receiving threats, while TE Rob Gronkowski should be his usual lethal self over the middle.

The Patriots’ pass protection has improved from the start of the season, but it will have to contend with OLB Von Miller. The New England running game, with White and Dion Lewis, ranks in the bottom third of the league while Denver allows the second-fewest yards per rush attempt.

Denver, 3-5 SU and 2-5-1 ATS, is on a four-game losing skid, but the three most recent were away games; they are 11-3 SU in their last 14 home games after consecutive road games. An outright win probably seems like a tall task given the struggles of Denver’s offense, which has turned to QB Brock Osweiler

One reason to think the group’s output will improve – beyond the belief that it would be hard to get worse – is that WR Emmanuel Sanders is healthy and could exploit struggling Patriots CB Johnson Bademosi.

The Patriots linebacker corps, led by OLB Kyle Van Noy, have had issues containing the run and covering running backs in the passing phase. Denver appears to have its running back trio of C.J. Anderson, Devontae Booker and Jamaal Charles all healthy, and they could help with putting together long drives that keep Brady off the field and prevent the Patriots from engineering a blowout.

The total has gone under in eight of the Patriots’ last 10 road games when they were favored by at least 7.5 points. The total has gone under in five of the Patriots’ last six games on the road against teams with losing records. The total has gone under in nine of the Broncos’ last 12 games after a loss.

For more info, picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the new OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes, or check it out at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Two teams are set to dominate the 2019 NFL Draft: Patriots and…the Raiders?

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The owner of the 2019 NFL Draft? Oakland, with rookie GM Mike Mayock, who counts Bill Belichick as one of his best friends in football.

The power broker, potentially, of the 2019 NFL Draft? New England, which will have the ammo to move up, down and sideways—and Belichick has always loved wheeling and dealing on draft weekend.

The Raiders have four picks in the top 35. The Patriots have one pick in the top 55. But that’s a misleading part of the story. There’s great depth in this draft from pick 25 to 100 and even deeper, some scouts at the Senior Bowl thought. So there could be fine value in the Patriot picks when they are slated to choose five times in a 45-pick span from 56 to 101.

Raiders and Patriots picks in the top 110 overall choices of the draft, as of today:

• New England: 1st round, 32nd overall; 2-56; 2-64; 3-73; 3-97^; 3-101^

• Oakland: 1st round, 4th overall; 1-24; 1-27; 2-35; 3-66; 4-106

^ Projected compensatory picks for the losses of Nate Solder and Malcolm Butler in free agency, as calculated by Over the Cap’s Nick Korte.

Read more from Peter King’s Football Morning in America by clicking here

Bengals coach Zac Taylor has had no time to process the Rams’ crushing Super Bowl LIII loss

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Don’t you always wonder what it’s like for a man to coach in the Super Bowl, then, a day or two later, get introduced as the new coach of Team X? It’s crazy. Happened twice last week. The Patriots found it odd that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was in their Atlanta lobby at 9 a.m. Monday, 5.5 hours after the Super Bowl victory party ended, to ferry new coach Brian Flores (ex-Patriots defensive coordinator) to south Florida to be introduced as coach Monday afternoon. Zac Taylor had a few more hours to get his family to Cincinnati. The former Rams quarterback coach’s introductory press conference was Tuesday.

So it was interesting to hear Taylor’s reaction over the weekend when I asked him: “How disappointing was it to play the way your offense played in the Super Bowl?”

“I haven’t had a chance to process it, quite honestly,” he said from Cincinnati. “There just hasn’t been time. I haven’t watched the game. Honestly, I’m conflicted. It’s devastating to work so hard to get to the championship game, and for your entire team to pour everything they’ve got into it, and then to lose like that.

“But five or six hours after the game, I’m on a plane to Cincinnati, on the way to fulfill a dream I’ve had for so long—to be a head coach in the NFL. And then your brain goes there. It’s just … it’s just the way it is, and you’ve got to turn the page.”

There was some discomfort in his voice, bordering on pain. It’s easy to sit back and say, Buck up, buddy. You’re about to make millions to coach a football team. True, but if you’ve been a football coach for a while, and you help your team get to the Super Bowl, regardless of the outcome, it’s got to be odd to just walk out the door a few hours after the biggest game of all of your lives, no time to process or adjust, and you move on while everyone else wallows.

One other question. I asked Taylor if he’d had much of a chance to consider how close the Rams came to taking a lead with four minutes left in the third quarter, when Jason McCourty, panic-stricken, ran 20 yards in 2.4 seconds (per NFL Next Gen Stats) to bat a decisive touchdown away from Brandin Cooks in the back of the end zone. If Jared Goff was a millisecond quicker with his throw, the touchdown would have given LA a 7-3 lead and put huge pressure on New England. Instead, the Rams settled for a field goal to tie it, 3-3.

Taylor: Sigh.

“In football, you just miss by inch sometimes,” he said. “You can be an inch from … “

Sigh again.

“That’s football in a nutshell. That’s football.”

I thought that would be it from Taylor, but he brightened, as his mentor Sean McVay would have. Taylor continued, “Criticism, pressure, adversity. We want our staff and our players to understand that this is the NFL. This is why you do this job. The energy, the camaraderie, can’t be duplicated, except maybe at the craps table in Vegas when you’re on a roll.”

The Bengals have needed some energy, and an offensive spur. I’m looking forward to seeing what Taylor can provide.

Read more from Peter King’s Football Morning in America by clicking here