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NFL 2016 Week 4: New Orleans Saints @ San Diego Chargers preview

Can the Saints get anything going against the Chargers, or will they falter for the fourth game running?


The Saints and Chargers are both coming off tough losing weeks and will be hungry to end the weekend with a win. New Orleans have struggled to say the least, failing to record a victory with three weeks gone. On the other hand, the Chargers have had good starts in all of their match-ups, but have failed to hang on to leads in two of their three games.

What happened in Week 3

New Orleans Saints

With an 0-2 record, New Orleans hosted their division rivals, the Atlanta Falcons, on Monday night. They continued their awful start to the season, losing 45-32 in prime time. Defensively they fell apart as they had no answer to the running back duo of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, giving up 217 rushing yards and proving unable to force any turnovers, while the team turned the ball over twice, one on special teams and one on offense. In a pass-heavy offense, Drew Brees did his job throwing for 376 yards in 36 completions on 54 attempts, including three touchdowns and one interception. You cannot ask much more from your quarterback and offense when they put up 32 points; the defensive struggles made the difference.

San Diego Chargers

In a back-and-forth game versus the Indianapolis Colts, the Chargers fell short 22-26. With less than five minutes remaining, San Diego held a slim two-point lead, 22-20, and looked in good shape to get a win, but Andrew Luck found his receiver for a 66-yard touchdown with a little over a minute remaining to give the Colts a four-point lead. The Chargers still had a chance to win the game, but on the second play of the ensuing drive, the offense coughed up the ball. Even then, San Diego still had a slight chance to win as they forced Indy to punt, but San Diego’s fortunes were against them as they fumbled the ball once more to end the game.

Keys to the game

Saints defense

The way New Orleans has played defense, there is no reason to believe they can win. Can they figure it out against the Chargers? They need to get some stops early and build momentum as offensively Drew Brees should be able to get points on the board. If they can play even slightly sound defense, they could have a chance to get their first win of the season.

Protect the football

San Diego had costly turnovers at the end of the game last week and will need to limit their turnovers this week. The same goes for the Saints, as they gave favorable field position to the Falcons after fumbling on a punt return; the Falcons would convert the turnover into a touchdown on the ensuing drive.

Maintain the lead

The Chargers have had their fair share of problems maintaining the lead in the first few weeks of the season, and if they get the better of the Saints’ struggling defense they cannot afford to take their foot off the pedal. San Diego need to finish off their games and ensure that they maintain the lead with consistent play on both sides of the ball.

Prediction

It’s just impossible to back the Saints when their defense is this porous. Drew Brees will certainly try his best to put the team on his back, but we expect Philip Rivers to have the better of this QB duel. We believe the Chargers will take this one 31-21.

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NFL 2016 Week 4: New Orleans Saints @ San Diego Chargers preview

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