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Packers Emerge as Super Bowl Favorites Over Steelers, Jets

Jan. 17 (Bloomberg) -- The Green Bay Packers two weeks ago made the playoffs on the final day of the regular season. Now they’re favorites to win the Super Bowl.

The Packers are given 8-5 odds to win the Super Bowl at the Las Vegas Hilton’s Race and Sports Book even though they’ll next play on the road -- in Chicago on Jan. 23 for the National Football Conference championship.

Green Bay is favored by three points over the Bears after a 48-21 rout of the NFC’s top seed, the Atlanta Falcons, two days ago. The Packers, the NFL’s third-oldest franchise, have won 12 league championships, including three Super Bowl titles.

“We are a championship-caliber football team,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said after the win in Atlanta. “We feel good about who we are, how we played, our brand of football, and that is what we are sticking to.”

The Packers entered the postseason with 12-1 odds of winning the Super Bowl -- eighth best out of 12 teams -- after beating Chicago 10-3 on the final day of the regular season to qualify for the playoffs.

Green Bay then opened the playoffs by beating the Philadelphia Eagles on the road before winning in Atlanta. Leading the way is quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who succeeded Brett Favre in Green Bay and has set an NFL record by throwing 10 touchdown passes in his first three playoff starts.

Second Favorite

The Pittsburgh Steelers are the second choice to win the Super Bowl with 2-1 odds, according to the Las Vegas Hilton.

The Steelers have won a record six Super Bowl titles and are favored by three points over the New York Jets in the American Football Conference championship game on Jan. 23.

The Jets are given 7-2 Super Bowl odds, followed by the Bears at 9-2.

Like the Packers, New York has already overcome the odds twice in the playoffs, beating the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots on the road as underdogs. The Jets won 28-21 yesterday as 8 1/2-point underdogs against a Patriots team that entered the postseason as the favorite of Las Vegas oddsmakers to win the Super Bowl.

The Jets also beat the Steelers 22-17 in Pittsburgh on Dec. 19 after coming into the game as 5 1/2-point underdogs.

“We got a taste of a victory up there,” Jets receiver Braylon Edwards said yesterday. “They’re a heck of a team, they’re a heck of a team to play at home. But we feel good about where we’re moving. We feel like we’re clicking all on cylinders and we feel like we’ll only get better.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at matuszewski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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