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The Saints will take a pilgrimage out west into the City of Angels to take on the Chargers, who hope to electrify fans once more after a dominant 34-17 win over the Rams last week.
Both teams tout coaches with poor preseason records — New Orleans’ Dennis Allen (6-10) and Los Angeles’ Brandon Staley (2-5) — but that didn't prevent either from strong showings in Week 1. With Justin Herbert and Derek Carr expected to see some more action Sunday night, it’ll be a fierce fight to see who can stay undefeated.
New Orleans had a nail-biter in Week 1 against Tampa Bay. After a 17-0 start, the Saints nearly let the game get away. Fortunately, Blake Grupe — a UDFA kicker standing at just 5’7”, 157 pounds who was mistaken as a fan twice by security — nailed the game-winning field goal over Kansas City.
That’s a nice way to start your career in the NFL. Anyway, it’s a new week.
The Saints will trot Carr out, likely for a full quarter at least, with the rest of the starters. The former Raider played well in his last week, albeit on just one drive. Rookie A.T. Perry enjoyed a great debut, as the Wake Forest product rumbled for six catches, 70 yards, and a score. Los Angeles should be a better test as the starters play more.
Speaking of tests, the Rams certainly weren’t one for the Chargers last week. Backup Easton Stick played terrific last week, completing 14 of his 21 passing attempts for 109 yards and a touchdown. First-round receiver Quentin Johnston had an inconsistent day but with more than enough positives to build on.
Neither head coach has a promising history in Week 2 preseason games. Staley is 0-2 in such games, and Allen isn’t much better at 1-3. That one win came with the Raiders over a decade ago.
However, both teams have stable QB rooms with exciting young weapons around them. But which side will leave the day with a 2-0 record?
Let’s get to the picks.
It’s strange to see the Chargers as home dogs in this after their Week 1 display without starters. Getting more than a field goal to back Los Angeles is a play everyone should get behind.
The Chargers allowed just 17 points to the Rams last week, seven of which came on a punt-return touchdown. Meanwhile, the Saints needed a last-minute field goal at home to beat the Chiefs backups last week.
Los Angeles’ defense got the best of New Orleans in joint practices this past week. Defensive lineman Chris Rumph II continues to have a strong off-season, providing quality pass-rushing depth that pays dividends in the preseason. The Chargers also rumbled for a whopping 214 rushing yards last week, aided by UDFA Elijah Dotson, who is making a strong case for a roster spot.
The Saints and Chargers combined for 60 points last week against their opponents. Yet the line sits down around 38 points — higher for a preseason game, but still a line bettors should be happy to take the over on.
Both teams should play their starters, with the Saints likely extending Carr’s presence on the field beyond a single drive. Beyond that, Jameis Winston is a high-end backup, and third-string rookie quarterback Jake Haener didn’t look overmatched in his NFL debut.
On the flip side, New Orleans allowed three touchdowns between Blaine Gabbert, Shane Buechele, and Chris Oladokun. They face a much tougher task when it comes to Stick and Max Duggan, not to mention Justin Herbert.
Michael Sicoli has been writing about fantasy football and betting within the NFL space since 2020. He works as a writer and content creator with ClubFantasyFFL and runs an NFL defensive (IDP) newsletter with The IDP Guys. A graduate from Quinnipiac University, Michael is a long-time NFL fan with a love for soccer and the NBA.More info on Michael Sicoli
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