(0-0, 0-0 ATS)
New Orleans Saints
(0-0, 0-0 ATS)
The NFL betting season finally kicks off for keeps on Thursday night at the Louisiana Superdome, as the New Orleans Saints start the defense of their Super Bowl crown against the Minnesota Vikings, the team they beat in the NFC Championship Game last year.
The Vikings could be in a lot of trouble in this game if there isn’t some old Brett Favre magic left in No. 4’s arm. Favre certainly looked like a grizzled old man instead of a wily old veteran in the preseason, as he failed to throw a TD pass and tossed two picks in limited action. That’s a bad omen for a man that prided himself last year on keeping his INTs under double digits for the regular season, something that he had never done before in his career. The problem Favre is going to have is finding targets that he is comfortable with when he is dropping back in the pocket. No Sidney Rice. There might not be Percy Harvin either. Bernard Berrian can’t do it all, and Favre and HC Brad Childress know it. There will also be a lot of pressure on the back of RB Adrian Peterson as well. “Purple Jesus” was called on to carry the pill 314 times last year, and this season he doesn’t have the services of RB Chester Taylor to back him up. Instead, RB Toby Gerhart is going to be man, but he is listed as questionable on the injury report with a knee injury.
Nearly all 22 starters for the Saints from last year are back, which is a good sign for them being able to compete for yet another championship. The only major casualty right now is SS Darren Sharper, who is unlikely to suit. As long as QB Drew Brees is throwing the ball all over the place though, there is no telling just how many points New Orleans could throw on the board. The former Purdue Boilermaker threw 34 TDs last season and made it to 4,388 yards in just 15 games. With his entire receiving corps back and intact, we can’t help but wonder if there will be at least 40 points scored almost every game the Saints play. The defense will be key on Thursday night though, as this unit did a fantastic job when these teams met last year in the NFC title game. Though the stats, per se weren’t pretty, the effect that hit after hit after hit took on Favre and the Vikes was tremendous. Ultimately, it was the ‘D’ that forced the turnover that helped win the NFC Championship Game, and it was that same ‘D’ that came up with a pick six that turned the tide of the Super Bowl as well.
Remember back when the Saints opened the doors to the Superdome for the first time after Hurricane Katrina hit? The intensity in the building that day was fantastic, and there was no way that New Orleans was losing. The entire city is going to be rallying once again around their Saints in this one in what could be the same type of atmosphere. The banners are being raised for the first time in the Superdome rafters, and we don’t see how the hosts are starting off at 0-1. Expect a comfortable victory.
Selection: New Orleans Saints -5