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Vikings' schedule is loaded with preseason Super Bowl favorites

We'll find out real fast if Minnesota really is among the best in the NFL.

Based on the latest odds from Sportsline, the Eagles, Vikings and Rams are the favorites to reach the Super Bowl next season, followed by the Packers, Falcons, Saints and 49ers. 

What's frightening for the Vikings is that they have to play five of those teams in the first eight weeks of the season. It's a potentially deadly gauntlet, and part of the reason Colin Cowherd is betting that Minnesota "falls off the cliff" this season. 

It's even more daunting when you look further down the barrel and see back-to-back games against the Packers and Patriots in weeks 12 and 13. That's seven of Minnesota's 16 games against teams with top 14 preseason odds to win the Super Bowl. 

In terms of teams with the most games against teams with top 10 Super Bowls, no team has it worse than the Saints, although the Vikings aren't far behind.  

1. New Orleans Saints (6)

If not for the Minneapolis Miracle, Drew Brees and the Saints would've played the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game last season. Now they face a schedule in 2018 that features six games against teams with top 10 Super Bowl odds. 

  • Week 3 at Atlanta Falcons
  • Week 8 at Minnesota Vikings
  • Week 9 vs. Los Angeles Rams
  • Week 11 vs. Philadelphia Eagles
  • Week 12 vs. Atlanta Falcons
  • Week 16 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

2. Minnesota Vikings (5)

The Vikings have a front-loaded schedule that features three of the first five weeks on the road against the big dogs of the NFC. They have their bye in Week 11 followed by a tortuous back-to-back against Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. 

  • Week 2 at Green Bay Packers
  • Week 4 at Los Angeles Rams
  • Week 5 at Philadelphia Eagles
  • Week 12 vs. Green Bay Packers
  • Week 13 at New England Patriots

3. Green Bay Packers (5)

We rated Minnesota's schedule just ahead of Green Bay's simply because the Packers get to play one more of their tough matchups at home. 

  • Week 2 vs. Minnesota Vikings
  • Week 8 at Los Angeles Rams
  • Week 9 at New England Patriots
  • Week 12 at Minnesota Vikings
  • Week 14 vs. Atlanta Falcons

4. San Francisco 49ers (5)

Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers reeled off five straight wins to finish the 2017 season, including victories the last two weeks of the season against the Jaguars and Rams. The momentum has them riding high into 2018, but a very difficult stretch of games awaits them, especially early in the season. 

  • Week 1 at Minnesota Vikings
  • Week 4 at Los Angeles Chargers
  • Week 6 at Green Bay Packers
  • Week 7 vs. Los Angeles Rams
  • Week 17 at Los Angeles Rams

5. Philadelphia Eagles (4)

The defending champs only have two road games against teams with top 10 preseason Super Bowl odds. 

  • Week 1 vs. Atlanta Falcons
  • Week 5 vs. Minnesota Vikings
  • Week 8 at Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Week 15 at Los Angeles Rams

6. Los Angeles Rams (4)

The Rams made a bunch of free-agent splashes to improve a team that won the NFC West last season, and their schedule is very reasonable in 2018. 

  • Week 3 vs. Los Angeles Chargers
  • Week 4 vs. Minnesota Vikings
  • Week 8 vs. Green Bay Packers
  • Week 16 vs. Philadelphia Eagles

7. Atlanta Falcons (3)

Now two years removed from the Super Bowl, the Falcons are rated among the best in the NFC going into the season they host the Super Bowl. 

  • Week 1 at Philadelphia Eagles
  • Week 5 at Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Week 14 at Green Bay Packers

The NFC is loaded, and Minnesota will find out very fast if they're going to live up to the hype or, as Cowherd believes, fall off a cliff.

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