All eyes will be on the Superdome as New Orleans (0-4, 0-2 home) hosts San Diego (3-1, 2-0 road) on Sunday Night Football.
The Saints’ troubles have been well-documented but few expected the team to arrive at Week 5 without a win. Some (not many, but some) even suggested New Orleans would thrive and still win the NFC South.
New Orleans has had a tough couple of games, losing to Kansas City by an overtime field goal before dropping a one-point game to Green Bay. The team may be 0-4 but it certainly isn’t a hapless 0-4.
San Diego on the other hand has looked much sharper than many thought, and while Philip Rivers and Co. has yet to hit on all cylinders, the Chargers have impressed on the way to the AFC West division lead.
The Chargers’ only blemish on the season is a 27-3 loss to Atlanta which went further to demonstrating the Falcons’ talents this season than it did San Diego’s shortcomings. That loss aside, the Chargers have taken care of business, something that cannot be said for many teams in the NFL season this year.
When the two sides take to the field, we should be in for an offensive onslaught. New Orleans is averaging 401.5 yards per game while San Diego has amassed 311.8 YPG. Conversely, the Saints are giving up 463.2 YPG compared to San Diego’s 316.5. Most of New Orleans’s yards are coming from the arm of Drew Bress, who will look to pass Johnny Unitas for most consecutive games with a passing touch down on Sunday night.
New Orleans has historically struggled against San Diego, compiling a 3-7 record against the Chargers. Amazingly, the Saints have never beaten the Chargers in New Orleans, putting together a woeful 0-4 record at the Superdome. However, the Saints were victorious in the previous meeting between the two sides, a 37-32 encounter that took place at Wembley Stadium in London, England, in October 2008.
Despite this season’s torrid start and these historic woes, the Saints are four-point favorites heading into Sunday night’s game. Bettors should be wary though as New Orleans has already suffered three upset losses this season and is 1-4 against the spread in its last five. San Diego has one upset victory to its name (over Tennessee in Week 2) and is 3-1 against the spread this season, including 2-0 on the road.
The total has gone over in nine of the last 12 San Diego road games and eight of the last nine Saints games. Bettors might want to consider taking the over on this week’s 52 point total.
The NFL Futures have seen New Orleans’ chances of winning the Super Bowl fall to 100/1 (from 66/1 before last week’s loss to Green Bay). To put it in perspective, the Saints were 18/1 to win it all during the preseason. Meanwhile, odds of San Diego winning the Super Bowl shortened from 25/1 last week to 20/1 this week. The Chargers began the season with odds of 28/1.
Whilst most people consider it a dead cert that Drew Brees will throw for a score on Sunday, passing Johnny Unitas for the all-time record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass, which currently stands at 47, Bovada is offering a special that’s worth a look. The bookmaking site is asking whether Brees will throw TDs in more than 56 straight games, exceeding Joe DiMaggio’s famous 56-game hitting streak. For the record: Yes (-400); No (+250).
Now, before anybody jumps the gun, the Saints are still capable of making the postseason. If the team needs inspiration it should look no further than Sunday night’s opponents. The Chargers began the 1992 season with a 0-4 record and still went on to make the playoffs with an impressive 11 wins. The way this upset-happy season has played out so far, betting against New Orleans playing in January is inadvisable just yet.
Now, who wants to discuss Sean Payton being allowed to watch the game from inside the Superdome?
Week 5 Schedule
Thursday: Arizona 3-17 St. Louis
Sunday: (1 PM ET) Philadelphia @ Pittsburgh | Green Bay @ Indianapolis | Cleveland @ NY Giants | Atlanta @ Washington | Miami @ Cincinnati | Baltimore @ Kansas City; (4:05 PM ET) Seattle @ Carolina | Chicago @ Jacksonville; (4:25 PM ET) Denver @ New England | Buffalo @ San Francisco | Tennessee @ Minnesota; (8:20 PM ET) San Diego @ New Orleans
Monday: (8:30 PM ET) Houston @ NY Jets
Bye: Dallas, Detroit, Oakland, Tampa Bay