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NFL Win Totals, Part 2

   by Bryan Leonard - 07/14/2006

This is part two of a look at NFL future lines for projected win totals. Let’s take a peak at some offseason moves and if there is some betting value with respect to future win totals.

Falcons: over/under 8 wins: Did Atlanta tire of Jim Mora’s tirades? The Falcons flopped in 2005, losing 6 of their final 8 games. This passing game still doesn't scare anyone. Mike Vick is a great running back, but a below average quarterback. The last three years he has 33 TDs, 28 INTs. His career completion percentage is 54%, and his best ever in the NFL was 56.4% (2004). They didn’t upgrade the passing game, either, which ranked 27th.

The secondary adds safety Lawyer Milloy, but stopping the pass wasn’t a problem. The run defense fell apart last season, ranking 26th, allowing 4.7 yards per carry. The division is competitive with Carolina, Tampa Bay and improving New Orleans. And the schedule is tough, with games against Pittsburgh, at Cincinnati, at Baltimore, at Washington, the NY Giants and Dallas. A winning record will be difficult with this one-dimensional offense and suspect run defense. If they struggle, will Mora flip out again? And will the players begin to tune him out?

Chargers: over/under 8.5 wins: So how are the Chargers going to have a winning record without a quarterback? After two great seasons, QB Drew Brees left as a free agent, so out of necessity QB Philip Rivers takes over. In two years he has thrown 30 passes with one TD and one pick. This team has a lot of talent surrounding him, but quarterback is such a pivotal position, this looks like a step back for San Diego.

The secondary has been poor the last two years and they took a shot with Florida State CB Antonio Cromartie, which was interesting. Still, the quarterback situation stands out like a sore thumb and the schedule is brutal, with road games at Baltimore, at Kansas City, at Cincinnati, at Denver, at Seattle and at Buffalo (in December)! Remember a year ago when Buffalo went with untested QB J.P. Losman? He wasn’t ready for the rugged world of the NFL and the Bills flopped. For the 2006 Bolts, under 8.5 wins is likely.

Vikings: over/under 8 wins: Brad Childress is the new Minnesota head coach, a former offensive coordinator with the Eagles. I hope he knows what he's getting into. Trading star WR Randy Moss and shipping out star QB Daunte Culpepper in each of the last two offseasons while getting little in return makes it very tough on the new coach. Capable QBs are rare in this league, and to dump Culpepper without at least seeing if he is healthy for a potential bounce-back season makes little sense. After all, he is only 29-years old and in 2004 Culpepper had an incredible season with 39 TDs and 11 picks.

They also let WR Nate Burleson walk. He was off a poor season, but in 2004 Burleson had 1,006 yards receiving and nine touchdowns. Minnesota's offense was 25th in the NFL in 2005, a poor 27th rushing the football, and will be again run by 38-year old QB Brad Johnson. The Vikings defense wasn't much better than the offense, ranked 21st overall. Many eyebrows were raised on draft day when the Vikings TRADED UP into the second round to take QB Tarvaris Jackson of Alabama State. Who? Don't worry, you're not alone. A lot of folks are wondering what the Vikings are doing. Under 8 wins.

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