Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#427 New Orleans Saints vs.
#428 Los Angeles Chargers
Sunday, August 18, 2019 at 4:00pm EDT
Stub Hub Center, Carson
Written by David Hess

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#427 New Orleans
#428 Los Angeles
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National Football League preseason action on Sunday and will see the New Orleans Saints grapple with the Los Angeles Chargers at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. Both teams are searching for their first win of the preseason as the Saints are off a 34-25 home loss to the Vikings, while the Bolts are off a 17-13 loss to the Cardinals on the road.

The Defense Did Not Look Good

The New Orleans Saints have been a powerful offensive team for years now, but the defense has let them down on numerous occasions. Well, their defense didn’t really make an appearance in their first preseason game. The Saints lost to the Vikings by a score of 34-25 and they allowed Minnesota to pile up 460 yards of total offense. That is unusual for a preseason game, as the defenses are usually ahead of the offenses. The Saints struggled in just about every aspect on defense as Minnesota ground out 213 yards on the ground while throwing for 247 yards.

New Orleans was 14th in the league in yards allowed last year and they did try and upgrade the defense through free agency with the addition of Mario Edwards and Malcom Brown, but it didn’t help them in this one. New Orleans also used three picks on defense in the draft and those three combined for three tackles in the contest. The Saints will look to get their defense going in this one and they very well could as the Chargers did not look good on offense in their opening game.

The offense looked decent in the opening game as they put 337 yards of total offense. The running game was impressive as they piled up 141 yards on the ground and that was against a Minnesota team that was pretty good against the run a year ago. The Saints picked up RB Latavius Murray through free agency and he had 14 yards against his former team. Leading the New Orleans ground attack was QB Taysom Hill, who had 45 yards. Having a QB lead their attack in the regular season won’t happen as they have Drew Brees back their. He did not play in the opener but will be playing in the regular season for sure.

It is unclear if Brees will play at all in this game. The backup QB spot is up for grabs and it will be a heated battle between Teddy Bridgewater and Taysom Hill. Bridgewater had a solid outing against his former team as he hit 14 of his 19 pass attempts for 134 yards and a TD. Taysom Hill had his 45 yards rushing, but he also hit 8-of-14 passes for 80 yards with a TD and an INT. The two will get the bulk of the snaps in this one as well. JT Barrett was on the team, but was let go and was picked up by Seattle. It is a two QB battle for the backup job.

Another key battle is the competition for the No. 2 running back job behind Alvin Kamara. Latavius Murray is battling Dwayne Washington. Both are big backs who can complement the smaller Kamara. Against Minnesota, Washington rushed for 36 yards on eight carries. Murray ran for 14 yards on three carries with a long of six.

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The Chargers Need To Correct The Penalties

Penalties are commonplace in the preseason as there are usually a lot of new pieces that are trying to gel with each other and that takes some time. The Bolts lost their opener to the Arizona Cardinals by a score of 17-13 and it was the penalties that did them in. LA was penalized 10 times for 85 yards in the contest and they even had one play where there were penalized four times on. The Chargers were 17th in the league in penalties last year at 6.8 per game. Not much has changed and they will need to get that cleaned up or it could cost them in the regular season.

The Chargers did not have Melvin Gordon in the backfield for the game as he is holding out and demanding a trade. The Chargers have good depth at running back and it will be tested this year. They piled up 179 yards on the ground against the Cardinals, but can we get too excited about that as the Cards were last in the league in run defense a year ago. QB Easton Stick was drafted in the 5th round by the Bolts and he led them in passing with 78 yards and in rushing with 51 yards in the loss to the Cardinals. He had a 31 yards TD run as well in the contest.

Austin Ekeler would probably take over as the top RB should Gordon not play this year and he had 554 yards rushing last year with another 404 yards receiving. Justin Jackson would then move into the number two slot and he had 206 yards rushing last year. LA may also look to pick up another back on the waiver wire or even through a trade. The receiving corps has some good weapons and LA will, of course, have Philip Rivers at QB for the regular season. Tyrod Taylor was brought in to back up Rivers this year and he was 6-for-6 for 72 yards in the loss to Arizona, while also rushing for 34 yards on two carries. Cardale Jones is battling Easton for the 3rd QB spot and he was 4-of-6 for 47 yards.

The defense was 10th in the league in total yards last year and it played well in the loss to Arizona as it held them to just 289 yards of total offense, including 83 yards on the ground. The Bolts were 10th in run defense last year. LA spent five of their seven draft picks on the defensive side of the ball and it could be an even better defense than last year. The defense will be tested in this one against a New Orleans team that can put some points on the board.

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Going with the Bolts in this one. LA looked good on offense against the Cardinals, while the Saints did not have a good showing on defense in their opener. The battle between Tyrod Taylor and Teddy Bridgewater should be fun to watch and while the Saints may have an advantage with Taysom Hill over Cardale Jones, we do not that LA still will have Easton Stick out there and he looked good in the opener as a dual-threat QB. The offenses could be even in this one, so it will come down to the defenses and the Chargers have a sizeable edge in that respect. Look for LA to grab their first preseason win of the year and it could be an easy win if they are able to cut down on the penalties.

Prediction: Los Angeles -3

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The Over is 5-0 the last five games in this series, but those were all regular-season games and we will not see a whole lot of or any of either Drew Brees or Philip Rivers in this one. Both teams ran the ball well in the opener and we could see more of that in this one, especially on the side of the Chargers as they need to get their running backs ready just in case Gordon does not play this year. 44.5 is a bit high for a preseason game and while the Saints did play a game that put up 59 points last week, the Chargers played one that put up just 30. The Under is 5-1 in LA’s last six home games and that is the clincher for me.

Prediction: Under 44.5
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Written By David Hess

David has always had a fascination with numbers and sports, so he combined the two to become a handicapper and a writer for us here at Winners & Whiners, along with StatSalt. All the information that David puts in his articles are well-researched and his predictions are well-thought out. He is a big fan of all the major pro sports and the colleges making David a very versatile and a constantly winning handicapper. David has been writing for the past 10 years and has been handicapping for over 20 years. He will help you beat the Man, so be sure and follow along.