Pro Bowl Preview and Pick: NFC vs. AFC – Point Spread

2010 NFL Pro Bowl: NFC vs. AFC, 7:20 p.m. EST, Sunday, January 31, 2010, Sun Financial Stadium, Miami, Fla., TV: ESPN
by Badger of

Point Spread: NFC -2/AFC +2
Over/Under: 56.5

In an effort to try and make the NFLs annual All-Star game less anticlimactic in the actual words of commissioner Roger Goodell, this year the NFL decided to stage the NFC vs. AFC showdown for the 2010 Pro Bowl the week before Super Bowl 44 on Sunday, January 31st.

But the NFLs thinking outside the box approach to the Pro Bowl didnt stop there.

In a bigger effort to regain the authority to stage the end of the year event in several host cities on a rotation basis, and oh by the way raise the fee to host the event to 4 million dollars, the NFL also sacrilegiously moved the Pro Bowl from the sunny shores of Honolulu to the same venue as the Super Bowl, the newly named Sun Financial Stadium in Miami, Fla.

So for the first time since 1980 the Pro Bowl wont be played in Honolulu. Which sparks an instant question in my mind if you take away the trip to Honolulu, will anyone really want to play in this game anymore?

With the Pro Bowl players from the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints unable to play, the NFL released a final list of 17 replacement players for the game on Monday afternoon.

Because of all of the roster uncertainty, oddsmakers out in Las Vegas waited until Tuesday to release the opening line, which had the NFC as slim 2-point favorites. The over/under total opened all over the place, from 58 all the way down to its current level of 56.5.

Offensively, the AFC will be hindered no doubt because their crew of quarterbacks went from MVP candidates Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Philip Rivers to the second string of Matt Schaub, Vince Young and David Garrard (really?).

Otherwise the rosters are stacked with talent on both sides of the ball, so breaking down the game for handicapping reasons becomes a laborious chore and really comes down to a guessing game.

The NFC won last years contest, 30-21, to pull one game ahead of the AFC in the all-time series, 20-19. The win was the NFCs second in a row and their third in the last four Pro Bowls.

With scores of 30-21, 42-30, 31-28, respectively, the last three Pro Bowls have been high scoring affairs. Defense is optional, so scores like the 55-52 score in 2002 is more of a trend then a rarity, even if they are using the second string at QB in the AFC.

Badgers Pick: Seriously, if youre wasting your bankroll on this game one week before Christmas (the Super Bowl), then you got problems. If anything, a small wager on the over. But otherwise, spend your time handicapping the big one.

Listed below, you’ll find both the AFC and NFC Pro Bowl rosters. Enjoy!

AFC Offense

QB Matt Schaub, Houston (replacement for Peyton Manning); Vince Young, Tennessee (replacement for Tom Brady); David Garrard, Jacksonville (replacement for Philip Rivers)
RB Chris Johnson, Tennessee; Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville; Ray Rice, Baltimore
FB LeRon McClain, Baltimore
WR Andre Johnson, Houston; Brandon Marshall, Denver; Chad Ochocinco, Cincinnati (replacement for Wes Welker); Vincent Jackson, San Diego (replacement for Reggie Wayne)
TE Antonio Gates, San Diego; Heath Miller, Pittsburgh (replacement for Dallas Clark)
C Nick Mangold, NY Jets; Kevin Mawae, Tennessee
G Alan Fanaca, NY Jets; Logan Mankins, New England; Kris Dielman, San Diego
T Ryan Clady, Denver; Joe Thomas, Cleveland; DBrickashaw Ferguson, NY Jets (replacement for Jake Long)

AFC Defense

E Mario Williams, Houston; Kyle Vanden Bosch, Tennessee (replacement for Dwight Freeney); Shaun Ellis, NY Jets (replacement for Robert Mathis)
T Haloti Ngata, Baltimore; Vince Wilfork, New England; Casey Hampton, Pittsburgh
OLB Elvis Dumervil, Denver; James Harrison, Pittsburgh; LaMarr Woodley, Pittsburgh (replacement for Brian Cushing)
ILB Ray Lewis, Baltimore; DeMeco Ryans, Houston
CB Darrelle Revis, NY Jets; Nnamdi Asomugha, Oakland; Champ Bailey, Denver
S Ed Reed, Baltimore; Brandon Meriweather, New England (replacement for Jairus Byrd); Brian Dawkins, Denver; Yeremiah Bell, Miami (replacement for Antoine Bethea)

AFC Specialists

P Shane Lechler, Oakland
K Nate Kaeding, San Diego
KR Josh Cribbs, Cleveland
ST Kassim Osgood, San Diego
LS Jon Condo, Oakland

NFC Offense

QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay; Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia (replacement for Drew Brees); Tony Romo, Dallas (replacement for Brett Favre)
RB Adrian Peterson, Minnesota; DeAngelo Williams, Carolina; Frank Gore, San Francisco (replacement for Steven Jackson)
FB Leonard Weaver, Philadelphia
WR DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia; Miles Austin, Dallas; Sidney Rice, Minnesota; Steve Smith, NY Giants (replacement for Larry Fitzgerald)
C Shaun OHara, NY Giants; Ryan Kalil, Carolina (replacement for Andre Gurode)
G Steve Hutchinson, Minnesota; Leonard Davis, Dallas; Chris Snee, NY Giants (replacement for Jahri Evans)
T Jason Peters, Philadelphia; Bryant McKinnie, Minnesota; David Diehl, NY Giants (replacement for Jonathan Stinchcomb)

NFC Defense

E Jared Allen, Minnesota; Julius Peppers, Carolina; Trent Cole, Philadelphia
T Kevin Williams, Minnesota; Darnell Dockett, Arizona; Jay Ratliff, Dallas
OLB DeMarcus Ware, Dallas; Brian Orakpo, Washington; Clay Mathews, Green Bay (replacement for Lance Briggs)
ILB Patrick Willis, San Francisco; London Fletcher, Washington (replacement for Jonathan Vilma)
CB Asante Samuel, Philadelphia; Terence Newman, Dallas (replacement for Charles Woodson); Mike Jenkins, Dallas (replacement for Antoine Winfield)
S Nick Collins, Green Bay; Antrel Rolle, Arizona (replacement for Darren Sharper); Adrian Wilson, Arizona; Quintin Mikell, Philadelphia (replacement for Roman Harper)

NFC Specialists

P Andy Lee, San Francisco
K David Akers, Philadelphia
KR Johnny Knox, Chicago (replacement for Percy Harvin)
ST Heath Farwell, Minnesota
LS Jon Dorenbos, Philadelphia