Morning Dump

Playoff predictions fill today’s dump.

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It should’ve jolted him from his chair, prompted him to rush to his smartphone to check the Chargers’ roster. But Omon hesitated. He was scared. If he took that step, there was no turning back. He’d have to call Ogemdi Nwagbuo, but what if he rejected him? Or didn’t believe him? After pacing for 20 minutes, Omon decided he had nothing to lose. He clicked on the website and found the face and name. Ogemdi Nwagbuo, defensive end, 6-foot-4, 312 pounds. Born in 1985, just like Omon.

Last season, I picked the Chargers by default. They were struggling with personnel issues, they lacked a running game and they just had a history of failing. But I couldn’t see any of the other three teams jumping out of the ground to catch them.

Houston — Talk about a leap. The Texans haven’t been to the playoffs before. Heck, they broke .500 only once, and that was 9-7. Now they take care of both, reaching the playoffs by winning the AFC South. You heard me: Winning the AFC South. Two reasons: 1) Peyton Manning’s injury guarantees the Colts go backward and 2) Wade Phillips. I’ll be honest, I liked these guys before Manning was hurt. What held them back a year ago was the world’s worst passing defense, and that’s a problem if you’re chasing Manning. Enter Phillips. When he took over as defensive coordinator in San Diego before 2004, the Chargers ranked 31st in defense; a year later, they were 11th. A year later, they were also AFC West champions. Phillips will make a difference, and so will smart additions to his defense — like defensive backs Johnathan Joseph and Danieal Manning and rookies like J.J. Watt, Brooks Reed and Brandon Harris. Houston could always score; it just couldn’t stop anyone, with opponents putting up 24 or more points in all but two games last year. That must change. Phillips’ arrival guarantees that it will.

David Binn walked through the locker room Tuesday morning on his way from being told he had been released. Word had already spread among teammates.

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