Thad’s Three Things: Bills at Saints

Buffalo Bills

Buffalo Bills’ Josh Allen waves a towel motivating fans as he walks off the field with a turkey leg that was presented to him during a post game broadcast interview following their NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

Three things on my mind as the Bills get ready to be the main event of this year’s Thanksgiving Day extravaganza…

The Saints Go Marching Out

We usually think of the Saints as a high-powered and dangerous offensive machine. The Saints team that will show up instead Thursday night against Buffalo is just a mess.

Superstar running back Alvin Kamara has missed the last two games and did not practice all week. It would be a stunner if he played against the Bills. His back up Mark Ingram–who who has looked fairly capable–did not practice on Tuesday. Even if he does play, it won’t be at 100%. Tight end Adam Trautman was lost for the season this week just as he seemed to be developing into a decent weapon. Both stupendous offensive tackles are out: former All-Pro Ryan Ramczyk and three time Pro Bowler Andrus Peat. The Saints will start a backup at quarterback in Trevor Siemien. Heck, they’re even on their fourth kicker.

This Bills defense should have no problem smothering whatever talent is left standing for New Orleans Thursday night. I think this game might resemble some of the dominations Buffalo put together against the likes of Davis Mills and Jacoby Brissett. Don’t be stunned if this game turns into a better sleeping aid than the turkey tryptophan for non-Bills fans.

Safety First, Josh

On the flip side, the Saints defense is pretty legit. They are number one in the NFL in yards per carry allowed. They’re also third-best in least touchdown passes allowed and top 10 in most interceptions.

As mentioned above, I don’t see this as a game the Saints offense will be able to generate much on its own. In fact, the best way New Orleans can score points might be via the defense. Josh Allen cannot help them with poor decisions.

If Allen had simply avoided the two interceptions in Jacksonville, Buffalo probably wins the game 9-6 or something ugly like that instead of losing it. I think this is a game where he has to be satisfied taking sacks, throwing the ball away and settling for punts. The Bills defense will probably be good enough to win on their own and the offense will eventually have too many good options for the Saints to shut them all down. Buffalo only needs smart from Allen this week. Not Superman.

Black And Gold Alligator Blood

Once the Bills got down in the second half last week against Indy, they didn’t put up much of a fight and the game was over early in the fourth quarter. The Saints will do not go as quietly into the Thanksgiving night.

The last 3 weeks with Siemien at quarterback, New Orleans looked ugly much of the day and got behind big every time. And every time, they’ve stunningly made a game of things late. They were down 18 in the fourth quarter to the Falcons and had a lead before losing on a last second field goal. They were down 11 in the fourth quarter in Tennessee and had a two-point conversion to tie the game late. They were down 26 against the Eagles last week and and were 10 yards away from getting within one score midway through the fourth quarter.

No matter how look how bad it looks for the Saints on Thursday, the Bills need to expect an inexplicable, crazy comeback attempt in the fourth quarter.

The Pick

A fully healthy Saints team would be a threat to do to the Bills what the Colts did in Orchard Park on Sunday. New Orleans still has a above-average offensive line even without Ramczyk and Peat. Assuming Star Lotulelei doesn’t play, the Bills will be somewhat vulnerable up front.

However, I think Buffalo can overplay the run in this game because New Orleans is just zero threat through the air. There is no talent of concern at receiver. Siemien shows a willingness to try and put throws in tough spots, but the other team ends up catching those throws more often than not. I would not be surprised to see the Bills secondary have another turnover field day.

There is always concern about playing a game on a short week and on the road. Weird things happen on Thursdays all the time and the Bills could easily be in a bit of a vulnerable spot coming off the Jonathan Taylor led thrashing last weekend at home.

Losing a game to Trevor Bleeping Simeon would put this Bills season on the brink of disaster. I think Sean McDermott and his coaching staff have too many answers and too many good players to allow that to happen. I don’t think this will be the prettiest watch, but I do think Buffalo will come out on top in the end. Give me a Bills 23-12 win with that side of pumpkin pie

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