NFC South Week 5 PreviewBy Daniel J.
Needless to say, it’s been a very unexpected start to the season in the NFC South. The New Orleans Saints, one of the preseason favorites in the entire conference, is off to a horrendous 0-4 start and not only that, but they have dropped games to some of the worst teams in the league, including the defeat against Kansas City two weeks ago. Then there are the Falcons, who are not surprisingly 4-0, but the way in which they have dominated opponents has been undeniably impressive. Here’s what we can expect from NFC South teams in week five.
Atlanta Falcons (4-0) at Washington Redskins (2-2)
The Falcons have soared above the competition so far this season and are currently one of just two unbeaten teams remaining in the NFL heading into this week’s road matchup with the Redskins. Atlanta has been excellent on both sides of the ball, while Washington has certainly been exciting on offense with rookie phenom Robert Griffin III leading the way. Both squads are averaging over 30 points per game, but the Skins are allowing more than 30 per contest, while the Falcons are only allowing 19.
A big contributor to the Falcons’ lopsided victories this season has been their league-high 43 points off turnovers. They have thrived off opponents’ mistakes, but unfortunately for them Griffin, even being a rookie, hasn’t made many yet in his young career. Griffin has thrown just one interception and is completing nearly 70% of his passes through four games.
This game should be closer than many of Atlanta’s games so far this season, but there’s no reason to think Atlanta won’t be able to win on the road. Washington won’t be able to slow down the powerful offensive attack from Atlanta. Since the Falcons are only three point favorites, I like them to cover -3 against the Redskins today.
San Diego Chargers (3-1) at New Orleans Saints (0-4)
On the other side of the spectrum are the New Orleans Saints, who are severely underachieving with the talent they have, at least on offense. The Saints showed some of their game that we have been accustom to in recent years last week, but ending up falling 28-27 to the Green Bay Packers. They will look to avoid their worst start (0-5) in 16 years, but it won’t be easy as they host a Chargers team that is playing quite well.
The Chargers beat the Chiefs last week 37-20, the same team that upset the Saints just two weeks ago. San Diego is right where they want to be at 3-1 and with a run defense that is holding opponents to just 79.3 rushing yards per game. However, they won’t have to worry about stopping the run so much against New Orleans, who even in losses has still put up big numbers through the air. Drew Brees has over 1300 yards and 10 TDs in the first four games.
Last week’s performance may by an indication that the Saints are starting to turn things around and with home-field this week; they are actually four point favorites against the Chargers. I think the Saints will play well today, but I don’t know if this is the week they earn their first win. The Chargers are hot and Phillip Rivers and Co. should be able to score plenty against the Saints defense. I like San Diego to cover +4 and most likely win outright today.