NFL Week 5 Featured Game
Storylines: We’ve only played four weeks of the NFL season and already it’s been a season to forget for the New Orleans Saints. The offseason turmoil has clearly had an effect; Sean Payton’s absence has made him look more valuable than the contract the team gave to Drew Brees and the defense has continued it’s ineptness from the NFC Divisional Championship game inspite of new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. Can the Saints get off the schneid against a Chargers squad that has traditionally been suspect against quality and non-qualtity teams early in the season. Or will New Orleans hit a new low with fans wishing they had brown bagged their visit to the Superdome?
- Saints at home with and without Payton: From 2006 thru 2011 Drew Brees and Sean Payton compiled a 21-9 regular season home record, averaging nearly a 17 point margin in victory and nearly an 11 point margin in defeat. However, minus Payton this 70% winning percentage seems like a thing of the past for New Orleans as the team has dropped its first two home game this season to Washington and Kansas City, losing by a combined 11 points.
- Norv Turner/Philip Rivers vs. Steve Spagnuolo: Both Turner and Rivers have only faced a Steve Spagnuolo defense once in their careers…a 20 to 17 victory over St. Louis in 2010. In that game the Chargers offense amassed only 287 total yards with Rivers completing under 60% of his passes while throwing for one touchdown and interception. Can Spagnuolo have a repeat performance or will the defense continue to play like the second worst squad in the NFL.
- Saints heading into bye: New Orleans is 5-1 in games before their bye week with Drew Brees under center, winning those games by an average of +11 points.
- Brees vs. Chargers: Once upon a time Drew Brees was the captain of the Chargers, but was dropped in favor of the young Philip Rivers. Brees has only played his old team once since signing with the Saints, a game where the quarterback led New Orleans to a 37-32 victory in London. He completed 73% of his passes for 339 yards and three touchdowns. Of course that game was also prior to the Saints bye.
- Chargers Record Week Before Playing a Divisional Opponent: San Diego might have a .619 regular season winning percentage under head coach Norv Turner, but the team is only 8-9 in games against non-divisional opponents prior facing a member of the AFC West. Worse, San Diego is a cumulative 0-6 when facing a non-divisional opponent during the first 5 weeks of the season. Will the Chargers buck the trend or will they already be looking ahead to next week and the Broncos?
Keys to Victory: This game is really all about Drew Brees and the Saints’ defense. Aside from attempting to break the NFL record for the most consecutive games with a touchdown pass, Brees is under pressure to show that 1) He can perform at a high level and win without Sean Payton, 2) Take the team on his back and deliver the Saints their first victory of the season, 3) Exact revenge for a second time on the Chargers for choosing Rivers over him. Look for Brees to put up big numbers through the air as the quarterback should capitalize on the depleted San Diego secondary that had to sign a free agent this week just to fill out their roster. And while we should expect the Saints’ offense to have success, their defense can help take the pressure off Brees with a few early stops that allows the team to build a lead. Spagnuolo’s defense doesn’t have to be the 85′ Bears on Sunday, just good enough to stutter the Chargers’ offense.
Overall, this could turn into a track meet similar to San Diego’s loss to the Packers last season, but you have to give the motivational edge to the Saints and be fearful of the Chargers’ track record under Turner.
Line: NO -3.5, 54 O/U
Beerbecue’s Beer Recommendation
Our friend/guru on all things related to beer, Mr. Beerbecue provides his biased, informative, and entertaining recommendation for your football fix. Check out all of his illuminating beer reviews at beerbecue.com.
Ballast Point Sculpin IPA (San Diego, CA)
Choices abound this week. Abita is near New Orleans, and they put out decent beers; but San Diego is choked with great breweries: Lost Abbey, Stone, AleSmith, Green Flash, Pizza Port…and Ballast Point. Now, I hadn’t had Ballast Point Sculpin in a couple months, so I went and grabbed a bottle. Why? Cause I play hard till the whistle for Friday Football Fix, and I separate bottle caps from beers like Seattle’s Golden Tate separates cleats from unsuspecting LBs.
Like its poisonous namesake, Sculpin will bring it, too. It’s light in color, but its unassuming nature ends there. Sculpin is deliciously juicy with grapefruit, pineapple, peach, citrus, and tropical fruit hop character. It has just enough sweetness and finishes dry with a pleasant bitterness. A fresh bottle of Sculpin can run with any IPA out there.
San Diego Chargers Food Recommendations
Since the Chargers are the only team in Southern California, we’re offering up two recipes this week from bloggers in the L.A. and San Diego areas that are befitting of the food/lifestyle that is SoCal…
New Orleans Saints Food Recommendations
New Orleans can be defined by food and the Saints, so nothing would be more acceptable than to offer up two New Orleans/Louisiana specialties that are perfect for Gameday…
Copyright © sports-glutton.com, 2010-2012. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from sports-glutton.com is strictly prohibited.