- Across three starts, Justin Herbert has completed 72% of his passes at a reasonable average throw depth of 7.5 yards. His Completion Percentage Over Expectation (CPOE) of +6.0 ranks fifth among all passers.
The Chargers head to The Big Easy for a Monday night matchup of 41- and 22-year-old starting quarterbacks. Drew Brees finally got a little of his swag back last week, pressing the ball down the field more than we’ve seen from him early in 2020 en route to a season-high 9.8 yards per attempt. His average throw depth of 8.6 yards was more than three yards higher than any of his first three games this season, and it opened up the offense for the Saints, though they did go very run heavy in the second half as they coasted to a victory.
On the other side, Justin Herbert has looked very good through three starts. There will certainly be rookie bumps in the road, but Herbert has been particularly accurate in the short and intermediate areas of the field, locking onto star wide receiver Keenan Allen as well as tight end Hunter Henry. A couple of weeks of finding success at those depths opened up some deep shots for Herbert in Week 4, and he came through with 72- and 53-yard touchdown strikes.
But Herbert will be without running back Austin Ekeler after a hamstring injury, and Ekeler joins a long list of injured Chargers that includes standout defensive players like Melvin Ingram, Derwin James, and Chris Harris. Defensive end Joey Bosa is questionable and will likely not be at 100%. Wide receiver Mike Williams is also questionable, but could provide Herbert another downfield target if able to play.
It’s tempting to take the Chargers at +8 given Herbert’s play to date, but the injuries on Los Angeles’ side make that tough. Meanwhile, there’s some hope Brees and the Saints could welcome back Michael Thomas this week. The superstar wide receiver is questionable, as is tight end Jared Cook.
With Brees and the Saints’ offense trending toward better health, and Brees himself looking more comfortable throwing the ball downfield in Week 4 than we’ve seen thus far in 2020, I feel good about their ability to score some points on a depleted Chargers defense. That will put some pressure on Herbert and the Chargers to keep pace, and with the way Herbert is playing, they may well do that. I like the Saints to pick up a home win, and I’ve seen this offense run away from teams before. Instead of messing with the line, I want the over in what should be a fun game with plenty of points on the scoreboard.
NFL Expert Picks
1u – Over 50.5 @ -104
NFL Free Picks
There's a host of exciting games on the Week 5 slate this Sunday, although the NFL world is set for more potential postponements in light of recent positive Covid-19 tests. The week will end with Justin Herbert given a primetime game to showcase his talents as the Chargers face Drew Brees' Saints in New Orleans. OddsChecker's crack team of Ben Gretch, Ben Rolfe and Davis Mattek are here to give you the best free picks for the games.