NEW ORLEANS — The Bills are in dire need of a convincing victory as they take on the depleted New Orleans Saints in a Thanksgiving Night matchup at the Caesars Superdome.
On Sunday, Buffalo fell embarrassingly to the Indianapolis Colts, allowing second-year running back Jonathan Taylor to score a Colts’ record five touchdowns en route to a blowout win at Highmark Stadium.
Much like the Bills, the Saints have struggled in recent weeks, dropping three consecutive games, the latest a 40-29 throttling at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 11. In the loss to Philly, the Saints allowed the Eagles to run wild while jumping out to a 27-7 halftime lead. Much of New Orleans’ recent struggles are health-related, as the Saints are among the most banged-up teams in the league.
Tonight’s game against the Saints (5-5) has the makings of a get-right game for the Bills (6-4), and anything less will bring further questions from a fan base that grows more disgruntled by the day.
This week, the Bills will welcome Tremaine Edmunds back to the fold after he missed each of Buffalo’s previous two games due to a hamstring injury. However, Buffalo will likely be without two starting linemen — one on each side of the ball.
Star Lotulelei and Spencer Brown remained on the Reserve/COVID-19 list as of Wednesday’s injury report and are expected to miss today’s game.
While the Bills have endured their struggles with injuries this season, the Saints have quickly become one of the most injury-ravaged teams in the NFL. After losing Jameis Winston to injury weeks ago, the Saints have lost a few more starters and will enter today’s game against the Bills without the services of Alvin Kamara, Ryan Ramczyk and Marcus Davenport. Kamara is one of the top running backs in the league, while Ramczyk and Davenport start for New Orleans up front on offense and defense, respectively.
With so many key players missing from their lineup, the Saints appear ripe for the picking entering this game against the Bills. All signs are pointing to a rebound victory.
If you’ve been following along on social media, Bills Mafia has taken over the French Quarter and is expected to flood the Superdome tonight.
The Buffalo fan base has traveled well in recent seasons, but what we will see tonight could set a new precedent for Bills road games. Although the Saints have a rabid following of their own, it seems as if Bills fans circled this game on their calendars and have decided to make a week out of their trip to the bayou.
Expect Bills Mafia to be loud and proud while providing the players with a phenomenal road atmosphere behind enemy lines.
With the Bills’ running game struggling mightily this season, a small glimmer of hope has been provided by the play of Matt Breida in recent weeks. Over the last two games, Breida has taken eight carries for 79 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. Today against the Saints, Buffalo should go to Breida early and often against a Saints defense that gave up a total of 242 rushing yards to the Eagles last week.
If there is a game for the Bills to ignite the running game, it’s this week against New Orleans. And Buffalo should turn to Breida if they choose to go to the ground early and often in this one. He has proven to be the Bills’ best option in recent weeks.
Also, it may be time for Buffalo to consider benching Zack Moss. He has provided the Bills’ offense with minimal production this season. Moss is averaging 3.5 yards per carry on the year.
GET A DAMN SACK
After loading up on pass rushers in the draft, the Bills have the sixth-fewest sacks in the league, as they’re currently tied with Chiefs with only 19 on the year.
Veteran Mario Addison is not performing at a high enough level to warrant the playing time he has seen this season, and Jerry Hughes has been impactful but has just 1.5 sacks on the season.
In today’s day and age of analytics, the value of a sack has decreased. Quarterback pressures are now the measure of an effective pass rush. With that said, there is still something to be said for putting the quarterback down and ending the play with a sack. Although statheads don’t believe in emotion, football is an emotional game, and the excitement that comes with a sack of the quarterback can be tangible.
Tonight, it would be nice to see the Bills come away with a sack or two, with rookie Gregory Rousseau returning to his early-season form and one of the veterans also making a play or two.
This is a game the Bills have to win, and they must leave no doubt in doing so.
In two of the past three weeks, Buffalo has been embarrassed. The pendulum is starting to swing in the wrong direction for the Bills, and they must stop their downward momentum with a positive performance this week.
Luckily for Buffalo, this game against the Saints isn’t nearly as daunting as it once appeared to be.
Prediction: Gimme the Bills to rebound with a convincing victory over the banged-up Saints, 35-14. If not now, when? Josh Allen gets right, so does the Bills offense. The Buffalo defense returns to form against a depleted New Orleans offense.