New Orleans Saints Favored To Represent NFC At Super Bowl XLV, Cowboys Not Far Behind

August 1st, 2010 – by Jon Lowell

With the NFL season around the corner, fans around the country are paying close attention to the 2010 NFL Betting Odds to see who is favored to win their conference. The NFC was hotly contested last season, and this season is shaping up to be just as competitive.

The New Orleans Saints featured one of the most impressive offenses in the league last season, and bring the same firepower back to the NFC South. Drew Brees led the team to its first Super Bowl in franchise history, and his stats earned him MVP honors. He threw for 4,388 yards and 34 touchdowns with only 11 interceptions. The team finished 16-3 last season with major contributions from the running backs and receivers as well. The biggest off-season acquisition for the Saints is defensive end Alex Brown, who will try to fill the shoes of the departing Charles Grant. With their new defensive talent, the Saints are favored by online sportsbooks to win the 2010 NFC Championship at 9/2 odds.

Trying not to repeat the disappointing finishes of the past, the Dallas Cowboys have have brought in one highly sought-after wide receiver. The Cowboys selected Dez Bryant out of Oklahoma State in the first round in the draft, perhaps to replace Terrell Owens, who left the team two years ago. Tony Romo also has matured into a seasoned veteran, and lowered his interception total from 21 in 2008 to 13 in 2009. He also passed for a team record 4,483 on the way to a 12-6 record and a NFC East title. The biggest loss for the Cowboys comes on the front line in the form of offensive tackle Flozell Adams, who started 16 games for the team in ’09. Without Adams, online sportsbooks have set the Cowboys’ odds just under the Saints at 11/2.

Hoping to win the NFC North will be the Green Bay Packers, who finished 11-6 last season. That record earned them a wild card berth, but they fell in the first round of the playoffs to the Arizona Cardinals in overtime 45-51. Aaron Rodgers finished among the top passers in the league with 30 touchdowns to only 7 interceptions. His impressive receiving duo of Donald Driver and Greg Jennings will continue to be his favorite targets in the ’10 season. The defense suffered a big loss at linebacker with the departure of Aaron Kampman. They gain experience at safety with the addition of Morgan Burnett, who the Packers traded up to get in the third round. The Packers come in third in the betting odds at 6/1.

The biggest question facing the Minnesota Vikings before the 2010 NFL Season starts: Will Brett Favre return for another season at quarterback? Favre has not yet revealed if he will return as he recovers from off season ankle surgery. What is known is that Adrian Peterson will have help at running back despite the departure of running back Chester Taylor. The Vikings drafted Toby Gerhart out of Stanford in the third-round to hopefully add a little power running to compliment the flashy Peterson. The Vikings finished with a 13-5 record in 2009, but fell one game short of the Super Bowl with a late loss in the NFC Championship game to the Saints. Online sportsbooks have their chances of returning to the NFC Championship at 13/2.

The last three playoff spots in the NFC are widely considered to be up for grabs. The Atlanta Falcons, who finished 9-7 last year, have the best odds out of the three at 10/1 to win the conference championship. Running back Michael Turner will try to return to Pro Bowl form, and Matt Ryan will have Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White as targets yet again. The defense suffered key losses of cornerbacks Tye Hill and Chris Houston. Falcons’ fans hope the addition of defensive back Dunta Robinson will bolster a squad that finished 28th in pass defense last year. They are fifth in the betting odds to win the conference championship at 10/1.

The last two teams considered among the favorites to win the conference championship are the NFC East rivals New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles. The Giants (8-8 in 2009) added safety Antrel Rolle to improve a pass defense that struggled late last season. Linebacker Antonio Pierce retired in the off-season leaving the starting job up for grabs in camp. The Eagles (11-5 last season) lost franchise quarterback Donovan McNabb, and have designated Kevin Kolb as their quarterback of the future. Linebacker Ernie Sims is sure to make an impact on the strong side. The Eagles lost two straight games to the Cowboys at the end of the regular season last year, and are seeking revenge. The Eagles and Giants have the same odds to win the NFC Championship at 11/1.

The rest of the NFC’s odds to win the conference championship are as follows:

San Francisco 49ers 12/1

Washington Redskins 13/1

Chicago Bears 15/1

Carolina Panthers 20/1

Arizona Cardinals 22/1

Seattle Seahawks 25/1

St. Louis Rams 50/1

Detroit Lions 50/1

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 70/1

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