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NFL Futures Predictions, Part 2

   by Al McMordie - 07/20/2006

Last week I examined some NFL teams that may be worth a look at going over or under the season win total based on key offseason personnel changes, both on the field and coaching adjustments. Let’s continue with some more.

Chiefs (9 wins): Herman Edwards is the new coach. I can only ask, “Why?â€쳌 Edwards is known as a rah-rah guy but is ultra-conservative offensively. So this emotional, conservative coach takes over a veteran team that was No. 1 in the NFL on offense. Edwards says he will run the ball more (what a surprise) in an attempt to take the pressure off the defense, which was 30th against the pass, and ranked 29th in sacks. Talent on the field is more important than schemes. Unfortunately, the Chiefs don’t have, and haven’t had, much talent on defense. Two years ago, new defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham came aboard preaching an aggressive, attacking unit. They were still poor. All the schemes in the world can’t hide a lack of talent. Consider the Patriots pass defense last season, which was second to last in the NFL. What happened to Bill Belichick’s innovative schemes? Well, they didn't work without talent. So Edwards likely won’t have a huge impact on the defense, and his conservative approach is going to diminish the Chiefs’ powerful offense. The new coach doesn’t appear to be the right fit for this team. Prediction: Under 9 wins.

Vikings (8 wins): New coach Brad Childress inherits a mess. They have unloaded stars WR Randy Moss and QB Daunte Culpepper in each of the last two offseasons. QB Brad Johnson turns 38 in September. The linebacker corps is below-average, as is the secondary. The Vikings defense ranked 21st overall. They shocked the NFL world by trading up into the second round to take QB Tarvaris Jackson of Alabama State. After a relatively nice run, the Vikings are in for a fall. Prediction: Under 8 wins.

Texans (5 wins): Most 2-14 teams lack talent. Houston is off a 2-14 season, but is not lacking for talent. QB David Carr is above-average, but he just hasn’t had protection. New coach Gary Kubiak steps in for 2006. He spent the last 11 years as the Denver Broncos offensive coordinator and brings in the Denver “zone blocking schemeâ€쳌 predicated on running back depth and hitting holes. It has worked wonders in Denver and can only help Houston, especially with decent backs Domanick Davis and RB Vernand Morency. Houston took two offensive linemen in the third round, in Charles Spencer (Pitt) and Winston Justice (Miami) to bolster the line, while No. 1 overall pick DE Mario Williams adds a pass rush. WR Andre Johnson is very good and they also add newcomer WR Eric Moulds, who should be a huge plus for Carr. There is plenty of talent for this team to be significantly better under the new coach. Prediction: Over 5 wins. Good luck, as always...Al McMordie.

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