The Buffalo Bills (6-4) and New Orleans Saints (5-5) are two playoff contenders heading in the wrong direction. We’ll wake up on Black Friday with a clear path to the playoffs. The other will be in real danger of watching the playoffs on TV. The Bills lost two of three to abandon their lead in the AFC East. The Saints are on a three-game slippage and hang on to the seventh seed for life. How will the Thanksgiving game between the Buffalo Bills and the New Orleans Saints go?
Buffalo Bills offensive on New Orleans Saints defense
Perhaps no group in the whole of the NFL has mystified more than the Buffalo offense. They are incredibly talented but hopelessly inconsistent. They sandwiched two stinks around a 45-point blast against the New York Jets. The Bills are second in scorers (29.5 points per game) and sixth in yards per game (6.0), but are 12th in giveaways (12).
Buffalo scored 227 points in six wins (37.8 per game) but 68 points in four losses (17 per game). Put it all together, and the Bills are sixth in Expected Points Added Per Play (EPA) – but the meaning is there is meat left on the bone.
Luckily for Buffalo, they catch a saints defense that crumbles a lot. New Orleans has allowed 117 points since Halloween, including 40 in a beating in Philadelphia last week. The Eagles ran for ridiculous 242 yards on 50 carries, controlling the ball for over 37 minutes.
Given the Injuries of saints in attack, they have no chance of saving their season without a major turnaround. They have it in them. Even with their recent struggles, New Orleans still ranks sixth in EPA / defensive play (-0.06).
Josh Allen Against Defense of the Saints
Almost any measurement will tell you that Josh Allen is better than he was in 2019 but worse than he was in 2020. Although he hasn’t been at his best, Allen is still at- above his career average in completion percentage (65.7), touchdown rate (5.5), interception rate (2.1), yards per attempt (7.4), passer rating (97, 1) and QBR (58.7).
So it makes sense that he’s still the NFL’s No.7 quarterback in EPA + CPOE – which isn’t bad, but also a bit below what the Bills probably expected when they gave him $ 100 million fully guaranteed before the season.
The Saints actually did a decent job against the last double-threat quarterback they faced. Jalen Hurts needed 24 passing attempts to manage 147 yards, and his 3.8 yards per carry average looks even less impressive considering that 24 of his 68 yards came on one carry. Over the year, New Orleans ranks 25th in yards per pass allowed (7.2) but 14th in defense against the third down (39.4%) and seventh in interception rate (3.2%).
Bills weapons against the defensive backs of the Saints
On an all-star offense, the Bills’ most effective wide receivers are No. 4 wide receiver Gabriel Davis (11 yards per target) and tight end Dawson Knox (10.1). Additionally, Knox only follows Stefon Diggs among Bills players with 5 touchdowns (and he managed to do so with 54 fewer targets).
Diggs is fifth in the AFC in receiving yards (773), while Emmanuel Sanders’ 16.1 yards per catch are third in the conference among qualifiers. Running back Devin Singletary is averaging 5 yards per carry.
Quarterbacks don’t fear Marshon Lattimore this year. He was targeted 6.8 times per game in 2021, his highest number since at least 2018. Lattimore allowed 4 touchdowns, 9.9 yards per target and a 106.2 passer rating, but he also interrupted 10 assists.
He’s not the only Saints defender to give up big games. Safety Marcus Williams allowed 22.1 yards per catch. Corner Paulson Adebo has been pretty solid this year, aside from 4 touchdowns allowed. CJ Gardner-Johnson is out for at least another week due to a foot injury he sustained in week 9.
The Bills offensive line against the Saints’ top seven
Advanced statisticians love the Bills’ offensive line. Football Outsiders ranks the group sixth for adjusted line yards (4.7) and fifth for adjusted sack rate (4.9%). The Bills’ starting five – Dion Dawkins, Ike Boettger, Mitch Morse, Cody Ford and Daryl Williams, left to right – arguably had their best race blocking game of the year in Week 11, with an average of 7 yards per carry. Starting left-back Jon Feliciano is not expected to play. Spencer Brown missed the Colts game because of COVID-19.
New Orleans’ three-headed pass rush is dangerous. Cameron Jordan, Marcus Davenport (who has a shoulder injury) and Tanoh Kpassagnon totaled 13.5 sacks, 16 tackles for a loss and 31 quarterback hits. And while last week’s race defense was appalling, it was the exception, not the rule, from 2021 to date.
The Saints continue to rank first in rushing yards allowed (3.4) and third in overall running defense (89.8). “It’s a patient attack,” Saints coach Sean Payton said after the Eagles game. “They stayed with it. In the end, we didn’t do a good enough job.
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New Orleans Saints offensive against Buffalo Bills defense
One would assume that the Saints have been a greatly diminished team since Jameis Winston blew his knee. And in terms of wins and losses, they did. They’ve gone 5-2 in the games Winston has started this year, but the Saints have lost their last three since Trevor Siemian took over.
The weird part? The offense has not seen a noticeable drop since Winston’s injury. They averaged 25.1 points and 180.9 passing yards in games started by Winston (25 and 256 in the Siemens starts). The Saints scored 29 in their loss to Philadelphia without Alvin Kamara, who will miss his third straight game with an MCL sprain.
The Bills’ much-vaunted defense was simply embarrassed by Jonathan Taylor and the Indianapolis Colts in Week 11. Taylor ran all over Buffalo for 185 yards and 4 TDs on Sunday, proving an excellent offensive line and a full back. playing like an MVP can beat even the stingiest. defensive front.
There is, however, reason to believe that Sunday was an anomaly. The Bills of the Year are consistently top in yards per game (4.7), per game (283.7), per pass (5.4), points differential (+11.9) and yards differential ( +108.0). Week 11 was only the second time this entire season that the Bills have allowed 24 or more points.
Trevor Siemian’s defense against Bills
Siemian just finished a 2-steal performance in Week 11, but he had handled the ball relatively well so far. Still, its accuracy is well below NFL standards. His completion percentage (56.9) is the lowest among players who threw 7 or more assists. His above-expected completion percentage (-2.8) is the sixth worst in football this year. But strangely enough, it’s still better than what Winston did before his injury. The Saints just aren’t an effective passing team.
And that probably won’t change on Sunday against Siemian’s toughest challenge of the season. In addition to ranking first for the effectiveness of the defense against the pass and the score of the passer against (62.2), the Bills are second in interception rate (4.4%), second in first downs authorized (17.5), fourth in third defense (33.1%) and fifth. in red zone D (50%).
Weapons of the Saints against the defensive backs of the Bills
It’s a wounded group. No Kamara is, of course, a big loss. He averages over 100 scrimmage yards per game and has scored 7 of the team’s 31 touchdowns. Backup running back Mark Ingram is also affected a bit with a knee issue, but he seems to be doing fine.
Starting tight end Adam Trautman (25-241-1) went to IR this week with a knee injury. Additionally, Michael Thomas will not play a down in 2021 due to a lingering ankle injury. One bright spot on offense: Marquez Callaway, with 14.9 yards catching and 6 receiving touchdowns lead the team.
Bills cornerback Jordan Poyer is enjoying a ninth year career. His 4 interceptions rank third in the conference and his passer rating against is an impressive 41.1. He and his bullet hawker safety colleague Micah Hyde are a big reason the Bills rank second in terms of revenue margin (+10).
But the best player in high school is probably still Tre’Davious White, who has allowed just 51.6% of attempts in his area of coverage and has yet to give up a passing touchdown in 2021.
Saints offensive line against the Bills’ defensive front
The Saints had just two Week 1 O-line starters against the Eagles (center Erik McCoy and right guard Cesar Ruiz), but they still held up to pass protection pretty well. Siemian was not sacked and the Eagles only hit him 4 times. It has been a force for most of the season. The Saints have the 11th best sack rate in the NFL (5.4%).
Blocking the stroke was more of a problem (21st, 4.1 yards per stroke). The club could have Terron Armstead (who missed Week 11 with knee and shoulder injuries) back, but Ryan Ramczyk is still at least a week off. Triple pro Bowler Andrus Peat is out for the season.
Not many people appreciate how good Bills weak-side linebacker Matt Milano is. He had 10 tackles for the loss and was excellent in coverage (59.4% in goals, 4.2 yards per target and a score of 68.9). If there’s one concern about the Bills’ defense, it’s their pass rush. Gregory Rousseau and Mario Addison are tied for the lead in sacks with just 3.
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Bet line and game prediction
The Saints are scoring 6 points at home, and honestly, even that seems generous given their injury level. We think losing the division’s lead to the Patriots was a wake-up call for Buffalo. Expect the best of bills this week.
Bills vs Saints prediction: Tickets 30, Saints 17