Welcome back to Killin’ the Odds! Below you will find my five selections to win Super Bowl XLVI. I do not consider any of these teams a lock, I just feel that they present the best value. Now on with it!
San Diego Chargers (11/1)
San Diego is one of the most talented teams in the NFL. They have a very explosive offense and benefit from playing in a weak division.
Phillip Rivers finished with 4,710 passing yards in 2010 which is good for 10th highest in single season history. This offense will be very dangerous if Vincent Jackson, Antonio Gates and Marcus McNeill can stay healthy. Ryan Mathews had a disappointing rookie campaign but, I believe he and Mike Tolbert will be an elite 1-2 punch.
Even though the Chargers had the NFL’s top ranked defense last season, they had trouble stopping the run at times. They drafted Corey Liuget who can clog the middle and will play DE in their 3-4 scheme. The team also picked up Takeo Spikes and Bob Sanders (until he breaks something).
New Orleans Saints (12/1)
The Saints are the most experienced team in the NFC South. While the division will still be competitive, Drew Brees is the only NFC South QB to win a playoff game.
The biggest issue the Saints had on offense in 2010 was lack of a running game. Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush struggled through injuries, which left Chris Ivory with most of the work. The shortage on backs forced them to be one-dimensional and helped Drew Brees to 22 interceptions. The additions of Mark Ingram and Darren Sproles will solidify them on the ground.
Their defense will stay aggressive and they added Shaun Rogers, Aubrayo Franklin and Cam Jordan to the defensive line.
Pittsburgh Steelers (13/1)
Nearly every year the Steelers are undervalued. They are almost always in the conversation at the end of the year. They have appeared in three Super Bowls in the last six years while winning two of them.
The Steelers offense remains mostly unchanged. Ben Roethlisberger will remain the focal point of the offense and Rashard Mendenhall has emerged as an elite running back.
Their defense is one of the most consistent units in the NFL. A full season with Troy Polamalu will improve their secondary significantly. They did have some trouble with coverage in open space last season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (35/1)
In recent drafts, Tampa Bay has a great job of accumulating talent on both sides of the ball. They finished with a 10-6 record last season and have a bright future ahead of them.
The Bucs young core on offense will return this season. They include Josh Freeman, LeGarrett Blount, Kellen Winslow and Mike Williams. Last year Freeman threw 25 TD to only 6 INT and he has put together seven fourth quarter comebacks in his career.
The defense is young with their strength in the secondary. Ronde Barber is still going strong heading into his 15th season and Aqib Talib led the team with six picks even though he missed the last month of the year. The front seven will have to gel quickly for them to be successful.
St. Louis Rams (45/1)
The Rams are arguably the best team in the NFC West. Last season the Seahawks won the division with a weak 7-9 record. This year you would think a record of 9-7 would win the division.
Sam Bradford had a great rookie year with 3,512 yards and 18 TD. Bradford and the St. Louis offense will shine under Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels. Lance Kendricks and Bradford have shown great chemistry this pre-season and guard Harvey Dahl is a nice addition.
The Rams were surprisingly good defensively last season. They recorded the seventh most sacks and allowed the 12th-least points. The addition of Quintin Mikell is huge and Robert Quinn could be one of the biggest steals of the draft.