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Michael Taylor 6th Sep 2010 - 14:49

Minnesota not Favre away from a Super Bowl winner

One thing is for certain this year - this is probably Brett Favre's last one as an NFL player.

The durable quarterback decided retirement can wait another year, choosing to rejoin the Minnesota Vikings with the intention of having one last shot of ending his amazing career in the manner he feels it deserves.

His return came as no real surprise given the astronomical numbers he put up last year and the lack of media attention he received as a result of LeBron James' free agency, however he now has to produce if he wants the cameras back on him next summer.

The good news is the Vikings have the roster to provide him with his dream ending even though they fell a game short last season with virtually the same components in place.

It's the balance between a cutting offence and tough defence that holds them in such good stead, plus the HHH remains one of the most fearsome venues for opposing teams to visit.

Last year they won all eight of their games at the Metrodome and even though they have to welcome the likes of Dallas and a strong Green Bay there's no reason to think they cannot be perfect again.

Favre showed last season he can still manage a game as well as anyone and in Greg Lewis, Bernard Berrian and Visanthe Shiancoe he has some good targets while Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice could return during the season to bring that extra ingredient.

The real strength on offence is still Adrian Peterson though, who remains one of the star running backs in the NFL even if he struggled with his handing at times last year.

He's always good for 10+ touchdowns a season and when you add into the equation the 2nd round draft pick and Heisman Trophy runner up Toby Gerhart then you see a backfield that offers unbelievable production.

On defence things are as solid as ever with the Williams Wall intact and Jared Allen remaining one of the most feared pass rushers around.

Antoine Winfield is coming off two fantastic seasons as well so expect the Vikes to be especially tough against the pass.

It all goes to say that if they can take romp through a steady regular season schedule and secure home advantage through the playoffs  then they'll have every chance of landing you a 14/1 winner in Super Bowl XLV - the 6/5 about them taking the NFC North is also a snip.

The two main challengers have to be New Orleans and Indianapolis, both of whom look equally as strong as last year.

We all know about the Super Bowl curse but with Peyton Manning under center there's absolutely no way the Colts will fall victim to it.

Last year nobody in pre-season thought they'd be realistic Super Bowl contenders but it took just two or three weeks to start the bandwagon rolling.

It wasn't Manning that was the worry rather an apparent lack of elite receiving talent, a problem that proved anything but an issue thanks to the emergence of Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon as extra options aside from Reggie Wayne.

The general consensus was that Jim Caldwell's side would have been a perfect 16-0 in regular season play had the head coach not sat on his laurels in week 14 and put out a weakened side.

They may have lost out in the Super Bowl due to the exceptional play of the Drew Brees led Saints offence but they'll bounce back and I'm taking them as the stand out side in the AFC.

You can get 4/1 about Manning, Freeney, Mathis and co heading to another Super Bowl and what better story could there be than Peyton v Brett fighting for career defining rings?

As for the defending champion Saints, this may be controversial, but I'm not willing to admit they were the best team in the NFL last season.

Yes they won it, and in style to boot, but a lot of it seemed to be based on early season momentum and then the backing they received from New Orleans city carried them past the Colts.

However they're bound to return with great confidence plus they have one of the most explosive offences around - they ranked 2nd in average yards, points and pass yards last season as well as 8th in rush yards.

If they can avoid upsets against divisional rivals then they're value at 8/13 to win their division, I just don't think at 9/1 they are good Super Bowl outright bet.


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