Chargers vs. Saints: Spread Info, Line and Predictions

Ryan DavenportContributor IOctober 5, 2012

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 30:  Quarterback Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints drops back to pass against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on September 30, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Heading into Sunday's game against San Diego, Drew Brees is on the cusp of making history. 

If the former Super Bowl MVP throws a touchdown against the Chargers, Brees will break Johnny Unitas' record of 47 straight games with a touchdown pass. It will be a small consolation for the Saints in what has been a nightmare of a season so far. 

It seems to be a foregone conclusion that Brees will pass Unitas on Sunday, but getting a win against the 3-1 Chargers will be considerably more difficult. 

Here's a look at game information, betting lines, fantasy stars and much more. 


When: Sunday, October 7, 2012 @ 8:20 p.m. EST

Where: Mercedez-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, La.

TV: NBC (check local listings) 

Live Streaming: NFL Sunday Ticket

Listen (radio): Sirius XM Radio 128 and WWL 870 AM (New Orleans), 1090 AM Sports Radio (San Diego)

Spread (via OddsShark): New Orleans -4 

The Saints are arguably the best 0-4 team in NFL history. At least on paper, they appear to have the talent and experience to play with anyone. 

Even though it is up against a 3-1 team, New Orleans is currently a four-point favorite over the Chargers. 


Over/Under: 54

San Diego and New Orleans can score with the best of them, as the Chargers have put up at least 22 points in each of their first four games. The Saints have scored no fewer than 24 in their four losses.

This game looks like it could be a shootout, and it wouldn't be all that surprising to see each team surpass 30 points regardless of who wins. 


Key Injuries: (via CBS Sports)

NO - DL Brodrick Bunkley: Questionable (illness)

NO - DB Roman Harper: Questionable (hip)

NO - RB Travaris Cadet: Questionable (shoulder)

NO - LB Jonathan Casillas: Questionable (neck)

NO - LB David Hawthorne: Questionable (hamstring)

NO - DE Turk McBride: Questionable (ankle)

NO - WR Lance Moore: Questionable (hamstring)

SD - K Nate Kaeding: Questionable (groin)

SD - CB Shareece Wright: Questionable (ankle)


Fantasy Start 'Em, Sit 'Em

Start 'Em - TE Jimmy Graham

The Chargers have been allowing almost 300 yards a game through the air heading into Week 5, which means the Saints' once-vaunted passing offense should have a big day on Sunday. 

Though Marques Colston is clearly Brees' favorite receiving option, Lance Moore and Jimmy Graham have actually been targeted more times than Colston this season. Moore and Graham have each put up at least 240 yards on the season. 

With Moore questionable for Sunday, Graham will see even more balls thrown his way against the Chargers, so he's a good bet to approach 80 yards in Week 5.


Sit 'Em- WR Malcom Floyd

After a hot start that saw Malcom Floyd reel in 175 yards through the first two games of the season, Floyd has cooled considerably, catching just five passes in the last two weeks combined. 

Yes, Floyd has been picking up decent yardage per catch, but he hasn't been targeted enough in recent weeks. He's a high-risk, high-reward guy at this point. 


Sleeper- RB Darren Sproles

Heading into Sunday, ESPN's fantasy outlook for Darren Sproles says it all: 

Should Moore miss Sunday's contest, it is not inconceivable for the Saints to line Sproles up in the slot at times given the team's lack of dependable options behind Moore on the depth chart.

Sproles' numbers on the ground have been disappointing thus far, but he's managed at least 60 all-purpose yards in each of the last two weeks. If Moore is out, that number should climb. 


Keys to Victory

New Orleans - A better effort from the secondary

The Saints have had no trouble putting up points on the board, but the defense has allowed 280 yards a game through the air and another 180 per game on the ground. 

Against Philip Rivers, who has managed to throw for more than 250 yards just once this season, the Saints have their work cut out for them.


San Diego - Establish the run

 The Saints have been dreadful at defending the rush in 2012, so the Chargers need to take advantage. It will be difficult for Rivers and company to win if the game becomes a shootout between the two quarterbacks. 

Jackie Battle and Ryan Mathews will be counted on to put up bigger numbers against New Orleans on Sunday, and the Chargers' ability to win on Sunday may depend on them.



New Orleans 34, San Diego 27

With suspended coach Sean Payton in the stands watching for the first time this season, Brees will lead the Saints to their first victory of the season and break Unitas' record in the process. Both teams can score, but neither Rivers nor the Chargers' rushers will be able to outscore Brees on Sunday. 


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