The NFL’s second regular season game in London takes place this Sunday, as the 3-4 San Diego Chargers square off with the 3-4 New Orleans Saints. Both teams come in after a loss Sunday, and both teams need a win to keep pace with their division leaders. The Saints were pounded in Carolina last Sunday, while the Chargers fell 23-14 to the Bills in Buffalo.
One player that is not in London is game-breaker Reggie Bush for the Saints. The teams leading rusher and punt return star is out after hurting his knee last week during a return against the Panthers. He’ll miss the next few weeks, and his presence will be missed. Look for the Saints to turn to vet Deuce McAllister and Aaron Stecker in his place to try and run the ball.
Drew Brees had a tough go of it vs the Panthers, as he was held to just 231 yards passing on 21-of-39 with one pick. He is a player that will look to challenge the Chargers secondary, and with the running game in a flux without Bush, the team will look to the air often, meaning you could see Brees with 40 or more pass attempts regardless of being ahead of not.
The Chargers struggled with the Bills and their solid offense last week. They put up 370 yards on the Chargers D, and Trent Edwards had a big week with 25-of-30 passing for 261 yards with one TD. Philip Rivers was 22-for-29 for 208 yards with two TD’s and a pick. The pick was a biggie as it preserved a Bills lead that in the end stood up.
Many felt that San Diego would be a Super Bowl contender in the AFC, but right now they are still trying to just get to .500. The dropoff by star RB LaDainian Tomlinson has been a big reason the team continues to struggle. The toe injury has hurt him all sesaon, and he is putting up just 63.7 yards per game and has had just one 100+ yard rushing day this season. If the Chargers want to win, L.T. needs a big day in London to get it done.
Both teams struggling say the trip to London is a time to get away and get focused on the reasons they are both 3-4. It’s no lie that each team has higher hopes than a .500 season, and this game is very important to both as one team is going to sit at two games under .500 when it’s all said and done.
With that, the Saints seem to have a better D right now, as the Chargers can’t seem to stop anyone in allowing 366.3 yards per game. Look for Brees to have a big game against that secondary allowing 254.6 yards per game, and the Saints to be 4-4 after a close win overseas this weekend.