New Orleans Saints (0-3 SU, 1-2 ATS) vs. San Diego Chargers (1-2 SU, 2-1 ATS)
NFL Week 4
Date/Time: Sunday, October 2, 2016 at 4:25PM EST
Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California
by Scott, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: NO +3.5/SD -3.5
Over/Under Total: 53.5
The New Orleans Saints, searching for their first win, come to Qualcomm Stadium to face the San Diego Chargers in week four action. The Chargers didnít have a good time of it in Indy in week three, with a 26-22 loss via another Andrew Luck comeback. At 1-2, San Diego has a chance to go even at 2-2 against a winless New Orleans bunch that is facing a tough road trip after a rough MNF loss to the Falcons at home, 45-32. Saintsí QB Drew Brees returns to his old stomping grounds, but it is otherwise a foreign road trip for the NFC South Saints.
Drew Brees is still a handful and he threw for 376 yards on MNF in a losing effort, with a pick-six, though it wasnít the offenseís fault for allowing Atlanta to have one of their best offensive games in over a year. The Saints will always be dangerous with Brees able to make the most of an aerial crew. Some youngsters are getting their feet wet in this offense and it could continue to get better. They even have a nice dash of run game with Mark Ingram, who had 77 yards and a receiving score on Monday. Coby Fleener caught a touchdown on over 100 yards through the air. Rookie Michael Thomas is getting more involved, with Brandon Coleman giving them another X-factor. Brandin Cooks is slow out of the gates, but is another handful who can get on a roll, as is Willie Snead. They put up almost 500 yards of offense on MNF in a losing effort. Against an SD defense that has been getting banged up with injuries, could Brees thrive on a field where he first forged his reputation as a player in this league?
Itís just that the Saints arenít the all-around package they used to be. Teamís reputations can carry on long after a teamís actual merit has passed its expiration date. Granted, the Saints arenít regarded as the contender of several years ago, but they get more respect than they their 10-17 record over their past 27 games would suggest. Thereís always this feeling that theyíre going to snap out of it and thatís been a costly game to play for bettors in the past few seasons.
Sure, the Saints remain a dangerous X-factor with the offensive firepower. The defense, however, has a very low bottom-end and itís a mode where they seem to find themselves more often than not. There was the week two performance against the Giants where they allowed 16 points. Against the Falcons, they allowed a full offensive frenzy to materialize. They couldnít stop the run and Atlanta got into the red-zone 7 times, scoring 5 touchdowns. Tevin Coleman hit the end zone three times, while Devonta Freeman had a game unlike any heís had in nearly a year. Against the Raiders in their home opener, nothing went right at the end, with the Raiders going for a late two after a TD and getting the one-point win. Theyíre porous and not terribly clutch.
When talking about clutch defenses, the Chargers have no right to talk after their collapse against the Colts on Sunday. When Andrew Luck came into the game late for the final drive, not many doubted that he would make something good happen. Down 22-20, he hit TY Hilton for the big TD strike and that was it. The Chargers tried to make a late run with time running out and were moving the ball, until TE Hunter Henry fumbled it away to effectively end the game.
Twice already this season, the Chargers have come out on the bad side of close games they really should have won. Not being able to follow through is awful, but they remain a tough team that can jump up and get you. Theyíre going to need to find a way to get through these injuries. Anyone who has followed SD recently knows the injury issue is always looming and threatening to derail this team. In the first two weeks, they lost critical offensive production with Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead lost for the season on injuries. Antonio Gates was out last week. Now we see the injury bug visiting the defense, with that side of the ball now being sabotaged. What was looking like a good secondary is now dealing with injuries to Jason Verrett and Brandon Flowers, with Jahleel Addae already out with an injury. The middle lost Manti Teío for the season with an Achilles suffered last week. LB Denzel Perryman had to leave the game. Joey Bosa doesnít look like heís going to be ready anytime soon. With Brees returning to his former stomping grounds, this could be a problem.
Despite the fact that they are losing games they should be winning and the injuries are a hurdle no team can righteously be expected to overcome, the Chargers have shown some positive signs. On offense is where some of those signs exist. Philip Rivers is going to give you a passionate effort and put this team in position to win games. Melvin Gordon looks better in his sophomore season and Travis Benjamin is looking to have been a nice pick-up for San Diego. WR Tyrell Williams looks good this season out of nowhere. Late fumble aside, Hunter Henry is developing into a nice target, which helps, as it looks like Gates will also be out this week. We also saw the Chargers trying to incorporate mid-week signing Dexter McCluster into the mix, a player who can be really dangerous in space.
This matchup offers promise for both teams. San Diego is looking to exploit a New Orleans defense that looks utterly dysfunctional. But the Chargersí ďDĒ is banged up a little bit in the secondary with Drew Brees coming into town. And with the Chargers the least capable team in the league when it comes to hanging onto a lead with their negative play is facing a team in the Saints and a QB in Brees who can put up points in a hurry. Still, I donít see the Saintsí defense coming up with the right answers on Sunday.
Scott's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Iím betting on the San Diego Chargers minus 3.5 points.
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