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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing

TWO UPSETS FROM PLAYBOOKSPORTS.COM HIGHLIGHT NFL REGULAR SEASON FINALES SUNDAY

By Marc Lawrence — New England over BUFFALO by 1 — Meet Bill Belichick, AKA the ATS killer. For the second week in a row the Dolphins were sitting on the precipice of a point spread cover when his troops gifted their opponent an ATS win with the game on the line in the final seconds of each contest. The Pats enter this fray as the current No. 7 (and final) seed in the AFC playoff picture and need this game like blood if they plan on returning to the playoffs for 19th time in 23 seasons of Belichick’s stint as head coach of the Patriots. Meanwhile, Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Marcus Hayes had this to say about the way the NFL mishandled Monday’s tragedy in the Bengals-Bills game when S Damar Hamlin suffered a heart attack and needed to be resuscitated on the fi eld as his peers watched: “The corporate monolith that ran from its concussion epidemic, continually ignored substance-abuse and performance enhancers, and continues to wink and nod at their domestic violence problem now wants you to believe it wasn’t going to restart a critical, marquee football game because a player got hurt. Except this time the player got very, very hurt. You saw what you saw, and you heard what you heard.” Word came out on Tuesday that the game will not be resumed this week. Our guess is that if the seeding between No. 2 Buffalo and No. 3 Cincinnati is still up in the air after this week a makeup game will take place. When it happens is anybody’s guess at this point. What we know for sure is that the Bills’ mental frame of mind is not where it needs to be today. That and the fact they are just 6-16 ATS as a division favorite of 7 or more points, including 1-11 ATS versus greater than .250 opponents. With the Pats 6-1 ATS off a home game against foes coming off a road game, as well as 5-1 ATS when coming off a division home contest, we hand this puppy over to THE CLINCHER: Bill Belichick is 15-7 SU and 16-6 ATS in final games of the regular season with New England, including 4-0 ATS as a dog.

Tampa Bay over ATLANTA by 10

Bucs head coach Raheem Morris is on record saying he will start all of his regulars this week as he looks to maintain momentum from a two-game win streak. In fact, Tom Brady is on record as saying while he understands that the Buccaneers are locked into their playoff spot, he doesn’t see today’s game vs. Atlanta as meaningless. “Everything’s in preparation for what’s ahead. We’re 8-8… we don’t have all our problems solved,” said TB12. As we called out on these pages last week, Tom Brady is clearly programmed to break every NFL passing record in the book. In his best outing of the year – 432 yards and three TDs passing, one rushing TD – he completed 34 passes Sunday, adding yet another record to his seemingly endless collection. In the process he won his 19th division title, as the Bucs are now back-to-back division champs for the fi rst time in team history. Atlanta enters as a team playing out the string, just 2-6 SUATS and ITS in its last eight games while throwing green QB Desmond Ridder to the wolves. With the Dirty Birds just 2-13 ATS at home coming off a home game and Brady 3-0 ATS in his career as a dog in season finales, we turn it over to THE CLINCHER: NFL .500 dogs are 5-0 ATS in final games of the season when coming off a win.

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