The battle of Drew Brees past, present and future takes place out west. The New Orleans Saints (0-3) look for their first win of the year as they face the San Diego Chargers (1-2) Sunday afternoon. The game kicks off from Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California at 4:25 pm ET. Television coverage for the contest is provided by FOX. The Vegas odds have the Chargers as 4 point favorites in the game with the over/under set at 53.5 points.
New Orleans remained winless this season after losing 45-32 on the road to the Falcons on Monday Night Football last week. San Diego blew a fourth quarter lead and lost 26-22 to the Colts last week on the road. This is the 12th all-time meeting between the franchises. San Diego has a 7-4 advantage but the Saints took three of the last four. That includes a 31-24 win at home on October 7, 2012 in the last meeting. San Diego’s last win in the series was a 43-17 win on the road on November 7, 2004. The Chargers’ QB that day: Drew Brees.
New Orleans leads the league in passing offense with 341.7 yards per game. The Saints are 26th in the league in rushing with 81.3 yards per contest. New Orleans is tied for 8th in scoring offense with 26.3 points a game. The Saints are second worst in scoring defense as they allow 31 points a game. Brees is 93 of 140 for 1,062 yards with eight touchdowns and one interception. Mark Ingram (165 rushing yards, 10 receptions) is the bellcow in the run game. Tim Hightower is next in line with just 37 yards on the ground.
The Saints face a San Diego passing defense that allows 322 yards a game through the air. How the Chargers deal with Willie Snead (16 receptions, 226 yards, 2 TD), Brandin Cooks (15 grabs, 224 yards, 2 TD) and rookie Michael Thomas (17 catches, 185 yards, TD) will have a major impact in the game. Tight end Coby Fleener (10 grabs) and Brandon Coleman (nine receptions) along with Travaris Cadet (11 catches) are versatile threats as well. Rookie kicker Wil Lutz hit all eight extra points but is 5 of 8 on field goals. To be fair, one of those attempts was a 61 yard try in the opener.
San Diego keeps getting bitten by the injury bug as they’ve lost a starter to a torn ACL in each of the first three weeks. After Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead went down in the first two weeks, it was Manti Te’o against the Colts. The Chargers are 15th in the league in passing offense with 251.7 yards per game. San Diego is 12th in rushing offense with 114 yards a game. The Chargers are 3rd in the league in scoring offense with 29 points a game. San Diego is 20th in scoring defense as they allow 24.3 points a contest. Philip Rivers is 68 of 99 for 789 yards with five touchdown passes and no sacks. He faces a New Orleans defense that is giving up 299 yards a game through the air.
Melvin Gordon (194 yards, 4 TD) is the feature back for the Chargers, especially with Woodhead (116 yards) done for the year. Travis Benjamin (17 catches, 229 yards, 2 TD) is the new go-to receiver with Allen out. Tyrell Williams (11 grabs, 201 yards, TD) and Dontrelle Inman (five catches) have to step up and contribute. With Antonio Gates expected to miss this game, rookie Hunter Henry, who had a solid outing against the Colts, gets a prime chance to make some plays again. Josh Lambo is 9 of 10 on extra points and six of seven on field goals with a long of 42 yards.
The Saints are winless mainly because they can’t stop anyone. Both of San Diego’s losses came from an inability to make a stop in the fourth quarter or overtime. Brees has a monster game but the Saints’ defense and special teams let him down in the clutch. San Diego scores late and picks up a win to even their record. For all our week 4 picks, check here to get the lowdown!
The Chargers are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight up loss. San Diego is also 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games on grass. New Orleans is 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games after allowing more than 350 total yards in their previous game. The Saints are 1-7 ATS vs. a team with a losing record.