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Submitted by Jim Hurley’s Network on Saturday, October 8, 2016 at 12:00 AM



Okay, America, your long national nightmare is over… QB Tom Brady is back in the saddle for the New England Patriots (3-1 straight-up) and may we remind you that the Pats covered three of their first four games this 2016 season and that happened to be better than – get this – how 20 other NFL teams fared versus the vig!

Brady’s return here in Week 5 with a road game at the winless Cleveland Browns is expected to include some rust and maybe even a turnover or two but just take a peek at what’s ahead for the Patriots and you see that – all kidding aside – Brady’s back in just the nick of time:

After Sunday’s game in Cleveland, New England next hosts Cincinnati, is at Pittsburgh and at Buffalo before grabbing a Week 9 bye and our Jim Sez crystal ball here says if the Pats can win three of these next four games with Brady than they are likely headed towards a first-round playoff bye (again) and quite likely another battle royal with defending Super Bowl champion Denver in the AFC Championship Game come January.

Should we not be looking so far down the road? Sorry!

And now hear this…

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In NFL Week 5 action on Sunday, it’s…

CINCINNATI (2-2) at DALLAS (3-1) – 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

Good one in “Big D” where the Bengals are hoping to boost their red-zone numbers – only four TDs in 13 possessions inside the opponent’s 20-yard line so far – but don’t necessarily count on TE Tyler Eifert to be a big help here as back/ankle issues may keep ‘em sidelined or limited once again. Meanwhile, Dallas rolls in on a three-game SU/ATS winning streak with rookie RB Ezekiel Elliott (412 yards rushing in first four games) looking to dent a Cincy defense that’s getting healthier by the week.

Spread Notes – Dallas is a rotten 5-13-1 ATS (against the spread) at home since the start of the 2014 season while Cincinnati’s a robust 10-2-1 vig-wise in non-divisional affairs the past year-and-change.

NEW YORK GIANTS (2-2) at GREEN BAY (2-1) – 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC

Enough of this WR Odell Beckham, Jr. drama already!!!

The fact of the matter is the Giants’ moody/mercurial/selfish wide-out has yet to catch a single touchdown pass this year – he has dropped two of QB Eli Manning’s passes that should have been touchdowns – and all the while the Jints’ season is starting to hit the skids following back-to-back losses to Washington and Minnesota the past two weeks. If Beckham doesn’t shape up and be a diff-maker here, the well-rested Packers (bye last weekend) could make this a second straight Sunday Night route (see Steelers 43, Chiefs 14 last week on SNF) providing that born-again QB Aaron Rodgers-to-WR Jordy Nelson pass/catch combo stays hot against a Giants secondary that looks lost.

Spread Notes – Green Bay has covered seven of its last 10 games overall since late last season; the NY Giants are 10-15-1 spreadwise as underdog sides since the start of 2013.

Finally, a quickie NFL pointspread note as we head into Sunday’s action:

NFL Betting Favorites are 30-29-0 with 5 Pick ‘Em games so far this year and that includes Arizona’s 33-21 triumph over 3.5-point home pup San Francisco this past Thursday Night. For you Over/Under players, take note that the “Overs” are 36-28-0 spreadwise (a tasty .563 winning percentage).