Don't Bet On The Favorites Just Yet
Don't bet your car on the Superbowl favorites just yet. In this article, I shall look into the flaws of each of the Superbowl favorites according to the Vegas Odds Makers. So, with out any further ado, lets look into the teams.
1) New England Patriots
Vegas Odds: 8-1
The Pats went 11-5 last year with a quarterback who had not started in a single game since high school. And now that Tom Brady is back, their destined to win the Superbowl right? Wrong.
The Pats may have Brady back, but his leg injury was a serious one, many quarterbacks have had the same injury, and have never recovered fully. Quarterbacks like Carson Palmer or Donovan McNabb saw some major slumps after their respective injuries. We don't know how Brady will be when he comes back.
Now then, with the Brady issue aside, we can focus on the defense. This may be the first year in which one of Bill Belichick's Pats defense has more than 1 major hole. The departure of Mike Vrabel (traded to KC) and Rodney Harrison (retired, going to NBC) can have some major effects on the growth of the young guys.
Considering that most of their secondary is made up of young guys, that won't be a good thing. There are new guys (Leigh Bodden, Shawn Springs) who don't know the defensive system, as well as baby faced guys (second-year men Jonathan Wilhite and Terrence Wheatley, rookie Darius Butler)
The Patriots need Brady to be back 100% and the young guys to come out swinging to meet the Vegas odds.
2) Pittsburgh Steelers
Vegas Odds: 15-1
I always think that you have to beat the best to be the best, which makes it weird for me to see that the Steelers aren't odds favorites to win it all again. Pittsburgh returns the majority of its defense and most of its offense and retained all of its key coaching personnel. After seeing what they went through in 2008 (the toughest schedule I've seen in a long time) I got to say that they are my odds favorites to win it all.
The only thing that is stopping them is that horrid offensive line.
Now I know that they drafted some linemen to help try to fix the problem, but that's raw, unproven talent. That would be like putting a band-aid on a cut that needs stitches. The plus for the Steelers is that Big Ben is mobile, and that they kept almost everyone this off-season. Rashard Mendehall returns this year, and the Defense remains as strong as ever.
If anything, I say that Pittsburgh is better this year than last year. And I highly doubt that they will play a schedule that's tougher than the one they played this past year.
3) Philadelphia Eagles
Vegas Odds: 15-1
The Eagles are downright scary this season. Their offense is full of game breaking speed demons(Brian Westbrook, Kevin Curtis,DeSean Jackson, and Jeremy Maclin to name a few) their defense is menacing. They kept most of the offensive line, and signed two time pro-bowler Jason Peters. They're coming off a devastating loss in the NFC Championship Game that should be used as motivation for the Eagles this year.
The only questions I see is in the defense. With Brian Dawkins gone (signed with Denver), the leadership qualities on this team might not actually be there. Especially since Stewart Bradley went down for the whole season. The good thing for this defense is that they signed Sean Jones in the off-season. Jones is in the top 3 for INT's in the past 3 years, and he did all that in Cleveland's defense.
The Eagles also bulked up their cornerback position, getting rid of Lito Sheppard, but aquiring Ellis Hobbs from the Patriots for close to nothing. They also drafted a few CB's.
The only real big question mark I see is departed defensive coordinater Jim Johnson (R.I.P) won't be coaching this unit. This could either serve as motivation to win the Superbowl for him, or it could completely ruin this unit. Only time will tell.
4) San Diego Chargers
Vegas Odds: 15-1
Though they caught fire down the stretch and knocked off the Colts in the playoffs, most Chargers fans will tell you that the defense stunk last year. I'm sorry, it did.
Shawne Merriman missed 15 games, Antonio Cromartie was in and out of the lineup and teams ran and passed all over Ron Rivera's once-proud unit.
Entering 2009, it's easy to say Merriman and Cromartie are back and healthy, and feel as though the pass rush is recharged with the recently signed Larry English out of Northern Illinois.
The big question mark that I see is that long time trench clogger Jamal Williams had some work done on his knees. He is essencial for this 3-4 scheme to work. Igor Olshansky, a reliable vet at right end, is now in Dallas, and unknowns Jacques Cesaire and Ryon Bingham are fighting for the starting gig. Neither is an upgrade over Olshansky.
5) New York Giants
Vegas Odds: 18-1
Who's going to catch passes this year for the Giants? Seriously. I've read everywhere how the Giants have addressed the losses of Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer, but I'm not buying it until I see some actual production. I'm sorry Giants fans, but from what I've seen neither Dominik Hixon nor Steve Smith are No. 1 targets.
What about Hakeem Nicks and Ramses Barden? Well, they are rookies, and unless they are a rare case, like Randy Moss, DeSean Jackson, or Anquan Boldin, they won't have #1 production. Don't get me wrong, they have major potential, but they won't produce just yet.
The huge plus for this team is the Defense. They have the best D-line in football, and excellent linebackers and DB's
Another plus is the run game. Unless Brandon Jacobs gets hurt, it should be a good unit this year.
6) Indianapolis Colts
Vegas Odds: 22-1
The Colts have had some major changes this past off-season. And all of them are on the sidelines. They changed their head coach, assistant head coach, offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, and offensive line coach all in the same off-season.
The exception is that the majority were already in the organization, with only one new coach being actually new.
And with Peyton Manning under center, you have to believe that they will still shine this year.
The problem almost every year is the D. Dwight Freeney and Bob Sanders just get hurt way too much. Still, their D isn't that horrible, it's just bad.
But I can't say that "Change is Good" when this squad has won 12 games or more for 6 straight seasons.
Well, this was the list, and some of their flaws. Remember, this is the Vegas Odds list, not mine.
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