Last weeks KYO highlighted how the San Diego Chargers needed to stop T.Y. Hilton in order to win the game. They failed and we all know what happened. The Bolts haven’t learned to get out of their own way in order to win a game. So just like in week 2 the Chargers return home with a bad taste in their mouth.
This Sunday they’ll face the New Orleans Saints in what should be a rather entertaining game at Qualcomm Stadium. The Saints will bring their high-powered offense and their historically bad defense, so fireworks are to be expected. This should be a high scoring matchup with both teams attacking their opponents defense relentlessly.
Like we do every week here at EVT we are going to take a look at the opponents strengths and weaknesses, so let’s get on to it.
Brees will play at the Q for the first time since leaving San Diego ten years ago. Yes, it has been that long. Since leaving, Brees has been one of the most prolific passers the game has ever seen. It also doesn’t seems like he is slowing down any time soon. He’s been on fire to start the season and the QB is the main reason the Saints have been competitive in their three losses. Regardless of the outcome on Sunday one thing is almost certain, Brees will throw for a ton of yards. The Chargers secondary will have their work cut out for them as Brees (like Rivers) constantly looks for holes in the defense. Once he finds a weakness he picks at it and exploits it. The secondary better be prepared to do some work on Sunday.
It took time for Cooks to develop, he’s been mostly up and down since he was drafted by the Saints in the first round The former Oregon State product has really shined in the first three games of 2016 catching 15 balls for 224 yards and two touchdowns. He’s very shifty and much like T.Y. Hilton last week, he’s a threat to take it to the house from anywhere on the field. Jason Verrett will need to have a bounce back game against the Saints. He was victimized last week against the Colts by the elusive Hilton and that cannot happen on Sunday if the Chargers plan to win the game.
I know he’s been over-hyped for much of his career and that he may be a bit overrated. However to me there’s no better play caller in the league. He’s built one of the best offenses in the history of football, and he’s done it with mostly unknowns at wide receivers. Marques Colston was a decent target for Brees and so was Jimmy Graham in his prime, but Brees has done well to spread the ball around to all his targets historically. Sean Payton has been a calming influence on him. Yes, Payton is cocky and he rubs people the wrong way, but there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s the best offensive mind in football. The Chargers and coach John Pagano will have to come up with something new to get the Saints offense disrupted.
The Saints are one of two teams (Giants) to fail to have recorded an interception so far this season. Going against a passer like Rivers dictates that they will have trouble again on Sunday. Cornerback Delvin Breaux will be out this week and with that Ken Crawley will be in. The other CB is P.J. Williams and he will see plenty of time with De’Vante Harris in the mix too. The Safeties are Jairus Byrd and Kenny Vaccaro. Roman Harper will see some action too as Vaccaro is listed as questionable presently. This unit will be tested often by Rivers and company.
The former Raiders head coach is now the defensive coordinator in New Orleans. Some pundits thought that Allen would be an upgrade over former DC Rob Ryan, but it’s been more of the same under Allen’s regime. This defense doesn’t apply any pressure on the opponents QB, just look at the number Matt Ryan put on the Monday night. They are not much better against the run either and Melvin Gordon should have plenty of opportunities to bust a big run loose.
Playing on the Road
The Saints have one of the greatest home field advantages in professional sports. The Superdome in New Orleans has long been one of the toughest places to play, but for some reason, whenever they travel things just seem to not go their way. So if the Chargers can get out to an early lead, the Saints may unravel. Drew Brees will be especially motivated to play this game so do not count the Saints out. We have all seen how teams are very capable of coming back against the Chargers. The Bolts will need to finish this week as the Saints offense is capable of putting points on the board rather quickly.
So there you have it. To me this has the makings of shootout between two hall of fame quarterbacks and that should be awesome to see. This game may come down to the last possession. The Chargers desperately need this game but so do the winless Saints. It will be an entertaining game.