Found October 04, 2012 on The Saints Nation:
The Saints are 0-4 and the only thing we have to really root for at this point is Brees getting the consecutive games with a passing touchdown record. He's currently tied with Johnny Unitas and one touchdown pass in this game will give him what he needs to eclipse it. So who will be the man to catch that touchdown pass? I'm going with Jimmy Graham. Of course while the Saints are currently tied for the 1st overall pick, rooting for that is premature and we as fans are just desperate for any win. I've said all along I've got a strange feeling about this game. I have this confidence the Saints are going to win easily. By no means am I suggesting this will result in a good season or any kind of turn around. But for one week, this Sunday, I have this vibe that Brees is going to break the record against his old team and the Saints are going to return to their old ways for one game. Make the jump to learn more about what they're up against.

OFFENSE

The Chargers after all these years are still led by Phillip Rivers. Rivers has been strangely under the radar his whole career, always very solid, but never elite. This year is no different as he's putting together a pretty solid year so far, but nothing extraordinary. Rivers did have a very poor offensive line last year that led to an overwhelming abundance of turnovers, so he's prone to have horrific games from time to time. Jackie Battle and Ryan Mathews are the primary ball carriers and they split time in the backfield. Bruising traditional fullback La'Ron McClain typically leads the way for them. This is a traditional I formation offense in that sense, though they pass more than they run and will run multiple receiver sets as well. Robert Meachem has been quiet so far this season making his way back from injury, but you know he's amped to toast the Saints' underperforming secondary. Malcolm Floyd is the other receiver and he currently leads the team in receptions and yards gained. Antonio Gates is still their tight end after all these years but while he's still got skills he's aging. Rivers does do a fantastic job of spreading the football around and keeping most of the playmakers on his offense involved. This offense isn't as good or as scary as it used to be. For starters, the offensive line is still a work in progress and it features no outstanding players. The Chargers' line has held together so far slightly better than last year, but it's still a major liability. As bad as the Saints' pass rush has been, this is team they can get sacks against due to poor pass protection and Rivers' lack of mobility. But it all starts with stopping the run. For this reason, I think the acquisition of Brodrick Bunkley is going to need to bear it's fruits now more than ever. If he can control the line of scrimmage and limit the running game, it forces the Chargers to pass and become more one dimensional. You may call me crazy for saying this, but I genuinely believe this is a team the Saints can generate a pass rush against. The bad news is regardless of whether it's Roman Harper or a linebacker covering Antonio Gates, that's a gross mismatch that doesn't bode well at all for the Saints' defense. Eddie Royal is a speedster playmaker that can't be ignored, either. That said, the Chargers are 24th in total offense at the moment. Capable? Sure, everyone is against the Saints' porous defense. But not as good as they've been in years past by a long shot. The Saints can get some stops against this unit. The Chargers may have a 3-1 record but they've done so with an incredibly soft schedule and a pretty good defense.

DEFENSE

The 3-4 base defense of the Chargers so far has been outstanding, but the Saints are arguably the best offense they will face to date with the possible exception of Atlanta. Prior to this they've shut down the Raiders, Chiefs and Titans. When they played the Falcons, the Chargers got blown out in embarrassing fashion. It all starts up front with what is a very stout run defense. You might remember a guy by the name of Aubrayo Franklin that's helped them stuff opposing runners. Youngster Corey Liuget, a guy I wanted the Saints to draft, has also played outstanding against the run. Veteran Takeo Spikes is still playing at a high level and a big part of why they have been so good against the run as well. That said, Spikes is a liability in coverage. The Chargers don't have an elite pass rush by any means and the Saints should be able to buy Brees some time, but Shaun Phillips is the one guy that still gets after it very well and must be accounted for. On the back end Quentin Jammer is still by far their best playmaker and cover man. Antoine Cason gets victimized more but he will make an occassional play, and safety Eric Weddle has good play recognition and while he's not the fastest player in the league he seems to be in the right place at the right time a lot. To me this is a defense that's actually very similar to the Packers in some ways. The Saints can exploit it in similar ways and I think this is a good matchup. That said, blocking well in the passing game and finding Shaun Phillips wherever he's blitzing from is at a premium. Most importantly the Saints need to try to get something going at least a little bit in the run game to keep the Chargers honest. 

SPECIAL TEAMS

Nate Kaeding has been an extremely accurate and reliable kicker his whole career, but after spending 2011 on IR he's injured again with a right groin problem. He didn't practice yesterday so this makes it's likely the Chargers will have to go with Nick Novak again this week. Novak filled in for Kaeding last year and he's off to a 3 for 3 start again this year, so the Chargers trust him and there shouldn't be too much of a drop off if any.  Punter Mike Scifres, from Metairie, has a huge booming leg but he has been known throughout his career to outkick coverage. Look for Darren Sproles to have some looks at returns if the Saints' defense can actually get a stop. The Chargers use a collection of guys in the return game: Eddie Royal (speed/explosiveness), Michael Spurlock (hands fielding punts inside 20), and Richard Goodman (explosive kick returner). None of the three have been able to do much so far his year. The coverage units for the Chargers has been woefully bad the last couple seasons, so while improving those areas has been an offseason focus, Darren Sproles may get some good looks in this one.

[follow] 
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES
REUNION

Suspended Saints can watch Brees

The suspended Saints coaches and GM have been cleared by the NFL to attend Sunday's game to watch Drew Brees go for a record.

Johnny Unitas’ son sent Drew Brees a letter congratulating him on tying his father’s record

There was at least one bright spot for the Saints in the loss to the Packers on Sunday. During the game, Drew Brees tied NFL great Johnny Unitas’ record of 47 consecutive games with at least one touchdown. Brees now has a chance to break the record that has stood for 52 years this Sunday when the Saints play the Chargers. And all he has to do is do what he does best, throw a touchdown...

NFL: Payton, Loomis, Vitt may attend Saints game

The NFL has granted permission for Saints coach Sean Payton, general manager Mickey Loomis and assistant head coach Joe Vitt to attend New Orleans' home game Sunday night against San Diego, in which Drew Brees can break a tie with Johnny Unitas for the NFL record of consecutive regular-season games with a touchdown pass. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello says Brees, tied with Unitas...

Saints could be without WR Moore

New Orleans wide receiver Lance Moore has missed the past two days of practice because of a hamstring injury and his status is up in the air for Sunday night's game against San Diego. The Saints already are thin at the position with Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, Courtney Roby and Joseph Morgan as their only healthy receivers. Moore has 19 receptions for 287 yards and...

Drew Brees, Saints Struggling To Find Spark After Horrible Start

Let's see, where should I start?  Worst run defense in the league, pass defense ranks within the last ten teams in the league, only six total team sacks, no running game, numerous mental lapses… bottom line is the New Orleans Saints just aren’t really good right now and things won’t get any easier for them as the season progresses.Coming into the season, I knew the defense...

Chargers week 4 unit grades

QB – Philip Rivers – BRivers had a pretty efficient game and only made 3 pretty bad passes, 1 he tried to force to Royal in the endzone, 1 he underthrew an open Meachem deep and another to Meachem was picked off.   Other than that he had 2 TD passes and completed 78% of his passes.  While he wasn’t outstanding, Rivers did more than enough to win the game, and not enough to...

Payton interested in job with Cowboys?

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton is friends with many Dallas Cowboys players and coaches. He also lives in the North Texas area. But that doesn't necessarily mean he wants to leave his current job to become the Cowboys' head coach.Payton, who was suspended for the season for his involvement in the Saints' alleged bounty scandal, spoke Tuesday at a PwC SMU Athletic...

New Orleans Saints: Super Bowl Host Curse, Quarterly Update

Everyone can agree that, at least on paper, the Saints are a good team despite the suspensions, yet somehow they have wound up 0-4. It's weird and crazy, but it's easily explained - they are cursed.For most of its history, the Super Bowl has been hosted at a neutral site, or at the home stadium of one of its weaker teams.So long as things stayed that way, the curse that...

NFL First Quarter Report Card: San Diego Chargers

The San Diego Chargers have gone into the 2012 NFL first quarter in first place in the AFC West with a 3-1 record through their first four games, but they are not being discussed as one of the elite teams at this point. They have three wins, but the only game they played against a team with a winning record, the Chargers got blown out at home by the Atlanta Falcons, Their three wins...

Philip Owners: Cry Me A Rivers

There’s something about slow starts that unnerves fantasy owners, especially when it comes from a fantasy asset with a bad year under their belt.  Obviously we all want our players to get off to starts like Robert Griffin, III or Matt Ryan.  You know, those guys you picked up late you just knew were going to be amazing for your team.  Well, there are still some guys that will...
NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.