Englewood, CO (Sportsbook Betting Lines) - The Denver Broncos and general manager Brian Xanders have parted ways, the team announced Monday night. Xanders joined Denver's staff in 2008 as assistant GM after spending 14 years with the Atlanta Falcons in various coaching, player personnel and football operations positions.
"My responsibility to the Broncos and our fans is to build a championship football team," Elway said in a statement. "The setup we have throughout every phase of our football operations will better position us for success going forward.
"Making a change with someone of Brian's caliber is not easy. I thank him for everything he did for the Broncos and wish him all the best as he continues his career."
"It's the first hurdle, a couple more to go, but we're really excited," said Vikings vice president Lester Bagley.
According to the plan unveiled in March, the Vikings would contribute $427 million toward the up-front costs, while the city of Minneapolis would commit $150 million and the state of Minnesota would fund $398 million. The city's part would come from redirecting a portion of existing convention center taxes, while the state would expand charitable gaming to pay its portion.
The Vikings are set to play in the Metrodome next year, even if construction on a new building starts, and would likely play just one season in TCF Bank Stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota.
In fact, the new Cleveland Browns have played in only one playoff game during their 13 seasons (Trivia question: Who was the Browns' starting QB in that 2002 postseason game? It was journeyman Kelly Holcomb.).
At the recent NFL Draft, the Browns took another stab at finding that elusive franchise quarterback. With the 22nd overall pick, Cleveland selected Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden, and he figures to be one of the NFL's most intriguing players in 2012.
It's hard to say how this is going to work out. In two seasons as Oklahoma State's starter, Weeden was tremendously productive, throwing for 71 touchdowns. He engineered 2011 wins over all three of the quarterbacks selected ahead of him in the draft - Stanford's Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts), Baylor's Robert Griffin III (Washington Redskins) and RyanTannehill (Miami Dolphins).
The optimist would point out that since Weeden is more mature than the average NFL rookie, that he should more easily adjust to being a professional. Heck, he already was a professional athlete for five years, having spent 2002-06 as a minor-league pitcher in the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and Kansas City Royals organizations.
NFL betting action is back! At MySportsbook, all of the pro football odds are posted for the NFC North. Check out how we see the four teams in this cloudy division stacking up this year in the chase for the playoffs! Green Bay Packers (+125) - With QB Aaron Rodgers leading the offense and DC Dom Capers working his magic on defense, the Packers are a real force to be reckoned with.
Virtually nothing changed on this offense for Green Bay from last year to this year, save for the addition of rookie OT Brian Bulaga to the bunch. Expect more huge numbers from the Pack, and a relatively favorable schedule should get them over the hump and into the playoffs once again this season. My NFL Betting Predictions: 11-5, 1st place in NFC North Minnesota Vikings (+130) - There are still too many unknowns about the Vikes this year. There is a huge difference between QB Brett Favre and either Tarvaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels under center. Plus, is Favre comes back, is he really going to be able to keep his pick total under double digits again? Depth at running back looked like it might have been an issue with RB Chester Taylor fleeing in free agency, but drafting RB Toby Gerhart should pick up the difference. This defense is still suitable, but with a first place schedule, making the playoffs is going to be very tough regardless of whether #4 comes back or not.
There is a huge difference between QB Brett Favre and either Tarvaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels under center. Plus, is Favre comes back, is he really going to be able to keep his pick total under double digits again? Depth at running back looked like it might have been an issue with RB Chester Taylor fleeing in free agency, but drafting RB Toby Gerhart should pick up the difference. This defense is still suitable, but with a first place schedule, making the playoffs is going to be very tough regardless of whether #4 comes back or not. Play this weekly NFL Football Contestto see if you can win.
Chicago Bears (+350) - The Bears are probably a bit of an overhyped team once again this year.No, we don't think it is plausible for QB Jay Cutler to have as bad of a season as he did last year, and we do think the additions of RB Chester Taylor and DE Julius Peppers are going to help immensely, but there's still something in the water in the Windy City that we aren't so sure about. Maybe Chicago finds its way to .500... but then again, maybe it doesn't. If Favre comes back, Cutler might be the worst quarterback in this division this year.
Detroit Lions (+1500) - The Lions are probably once again going to be the whipping boys for the rest of the teams in the NFC North, but they aren't just going to roll over and die once again. There is some real talent amassing on this team offensively, as the combination of QB Matt Stafford, RB Jahvid Best, WR Calvin Johnson, and TE Brandon Pettigrew should put a bunch of points on the board if the offensive line can even remotely hold up. The questions really lie on defense, where it feels like DT Ndamukong Suh is going to be trying to stop opposing teams all by himself. This year should show some marked improvement in the Motor City.
The Patriots will make NFL betting fans a lot of money this season, get in early and enjoy the cash.