The Saints come marching into Buffalo riding a six game win streak after starting off 0-2, whereas the Bills come off of an embarrassing loss on national television against the Jets. Despite the loss, the Bills still sit at 5-3 and currently hold the 2nd Wild Card in the AFC. The Saints jumped all the way to the 2 seed in the NFC, and lead a tight NFC South race. If the Bills want to maintain the pace they’re at, and stay within a game of the Patriots, Sunday will be a huge matchup at home.
New Orleans rolls into Buffalo boasting an offense that is top 10 in passing yards, points, and, somewhat surprisingly, rushing yards per game. Drew Brees has once again been a beast, throwing for 2,214 yards to go along with 13 touchdowns to just 4 interceptions. Perhaps the biggest surprise for the Saints has been their powerful rushing attack, led by Mark Ingram running for over 500 yards and averaging 4.4 yards a carry, good for 15th in the NFL. Oh, and by the way, Saints backup running back, rookie Alvin Kamara, has rushed for 300 yards on a league best 6 yards per carry. The Saints offense is legit, and it is scary. Receiving weapons like Ted Ginn Jr, Michael Thomas, and Willie Snead, along with Kamara out of the backfield, will look to give the Bills secondary problems all day long.
Speaking of the Bills secondary, despite allowing 34 points last Thursday against the Jets, they held them to just 137 yards passing. However, the big gashes game through the run game, where New York tagged the Buffalo defense for 194 yards on the ground. This was led mostly by an aging Matt Forte, so the explosiveness of Ingram and Kamara could prove difficult. On the other side of the ball, Tyrod Taylor will hopefully have plenty of weapons available despite Zay Jones being ruled out, as his favorite target TE Charles Clay looks to return after missing three weeks due to injury. In addition, WR Kelvin Benjamin will make his debut in a Bills uniform. There should be no excuses for Tyrod Taylor, and look for a huge bounce back game for LeSean McCoy, as the passing game will open up holes for Shady against a below-average Saints run defense.
It would be lazy of me to say “the Bills don’t lose at home, and Drew Brees sucks in cold weather”, so I will say that, but back it up with some stats. The temperature in Orchard Park is expected to be in the low 40’s, and this will be their first game since 2014 where the Saints have had to deal with temperatures under 50 degrees. In 15 games since Brees arrived in 2006, the Saints have gone on the road 15 times to play in cold weather games and have gone 7-8 in those matchups. So, Drew Brees isn’t exactly great in the cold. Second point: the Bills don’t lose at home. Orchard Park is up there with the best home field advantages in the NFL, if not THE best (I may be biased). The Bills are 5-0 at New Era Field this season, and that home field advantage only gets better as the weather gets colder. My prediction: last Thursday night’s game was seen as many as the Bills being the Bills, but in reality it was just a fluke. The Bills turned the ball over 3 times, which was uncharacteristic. Buffalo will outlast the Saints and end their six game winning streak.
Final score: Bills 31, Saints 27.
(Pic credits: Wn.com)