NFC Title Odds

Michael Vick Philadelphia Eagles

Nothing short of a crystal ball that can actually predict the future will be needed to determine which team win the NFC this season given the quality and parity of a number of teams in the conference. Last season Green Bay won it all as a sixth-seed wildcard with a regular season record of 10-6. All told there were seven teams in the NFC that had at least 10 wins with Atlanta leading the way at 13-3.

Also adding to the confusion is the current labor dispute between the league owners and its players which has completely disrupted this offseason. Free agents are still waiting to be signed and rookies have yet to have any meaningful time with their new coaching staffs. Once this whole mess is finally resolved, the teams that can hit the ground running with their starting lineups fairly intact will have a huge advantage over the ones that get bogged down in player personnel issues.

Intertops.com has opened the Packers as the odds-on-favorite to repeat as NFC Champions at 9/2. On the plus side of these odds is the fact that Aaron Rodgers and Co. are clearly the most talented team in the NFC North and should have little trouble winning the division to most likely secure a first-round bye in the playoffs. If Green Bay nails down the top spot in the conference and the road to the championship goes through Lambeau Field in January, you might as well punch its ticket to Super Bowl XLVI. If complacency sets in due to the dreaded Super Bowl hangover, this team could trip up a bit and end up as a second or even third seed making the current odds a little less attractive.

The second favorite to win the NFC is Philadelphia at 7/1. The Eagles will have to fend off Dallas (9/1) and New York (19/2) to come out on top of the NFC East, but they have been down that road before and know what it takes to beat both of these teams. There is little doubt that with the likes of QB Michael Vick, WR’s DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, and RB LeSean McCoy on offense, Philadelphia will once again light up the scoreboard. If Andy Reid is going to have any chance to lead his team to its sixth NFC championship game in his 14-year tenure, it is going to have to tighten things up on defense. Overall, given the stability of this franchise, it should be one of those teams benefitting from the work stoppage, which in turn adds value to its current odds.

Atlanta is the third favorite at 15/2 followed closely by New Orleans at 8/1. Last year these two teams battled for the South title right up until the final few weeks of the regular season and this year should be no different. Both teams have offenses that can move the ball and put points on the board and both have defenses that can keep opposing teams out of the end zone. A third wrinkle that could make the race to the top of the division even more precarious is a Tampa Bay team that should once again be right in the mix after winning 10 games last year. The Buccaneers are listed at 15/1 to win the conference. Eventually one of these teams will emerge as the division champion but will most likely have to take the long road to the NFC championship game as a third or fourth seed, thus sucking a bit of value out of their current odds.

This season’s NFC championship game should come down to a rematch of last year’s wildcard matchup between Philadelphia and Green Bay. The Packers came out on top last year after they intercepted Vick in the end zone in the closing minutes to seal the win. This year, the All-Pro quarterback extracts his revenge as he leads the Eagles back to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2005.

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