New Orleans Saints Open Up 2010 NFL Season As Five-Point Favorites Over Minnesota Vikings
September 6, 2010-  By Bryan Cross

It’s official, the 2010 NFL Season begins this week when the Minnesota Vikings match up against the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night, in a rematch of the NFC Championship overtime thriller from last season.

The defending Super Bowl Champion Saints open their new chapter as they look to repeat as champions after winning their first title in the organizations history.

On the other side of the ball, the Vikings finally got Brett Favre back onto the field after the 40-year-old quarterback sat out most of training camp nursing an injury to his ankle, and debating retirement for the second consecutive season with Minnesota.  Favre had one of the best seasons in his career last season with the Vikings, making it to the NFC Championship game and winning the NFC North division title.  Now, in his 20th NFL season, Favre has already said that this will be his last, and he expects to compete for a Super Bowl if all goes right.

Looking ahead at this match up on Thursday on offense for the Saint, quarterback Drew Brees and company will continue to do what they do best, spread the ball around and use their stock of weapons. The Saints are capable running the ball with Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas, as they will look to provide balance to go along with the dangerous passing attack.

During first week of the NFL season, a lot of teams are still trying to find their footing, despite four weeks of preseason games. Brees has plenty of receivers to share the ball with, most notably Marques Colston and Devery Henderson.  Defensively for the VIkings, they will have a tough time stopping New Orleans, but do have the talent to do so.  That, starts up front with Jared Allen, who has been a dominant force for opposing offenses over the course of the last several seasons.  Look for the Vikings to be aggressive as they have been and create turnovers.  They were plus-six last season in the turnover department.

For the Vikings on offense, running back Adrian Peterson is one of the best in the league, and the Saints will have to game plan to stop him.  Favre isn’t too shabby at throwing the ball either, which makes Minnesota a difficult team.  The Vikings are hut by the loss of Sidney Rice for about half of the season, but Percy Harvin and Bernard Barrian have the talent to make up for the hole left by Rice.

The Saints were among the best at creating turnovers last season, and came up with a crucial one in the NFC Championship game a season ago.  While there is probably no coverage out their that Favre hasn’t seen, the Saints can still bring the pressure and force the veteran to make mistakes, circa the 2010 NFC Championship game.  Favre has always played aggressive and the Saints can take advantage of that potentially.

USA Online Sportsbooks and NFL weekly betting lines have set the Vikings as a five-point favorite in this one.  The line opened at 5 1/2 but has shifted just slightly.  The established over/under is 48 points.  Betting trends indicate that the Vikings are 6-2 ATS in their last eight week one games, while the Saints are 2-6 ATS in their last eight overall.

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