Here is how The News' sports reporters see Thursday night's game between the Buffalo Bills and the New Orleans Saints. The Bills are favored by 6 points, according to fanduel.com.
Two years ago, the Bills’ 26-15 Thanksgiving victory over the Cowboys was a coming-out party for second-year quarterback Josh Allen. This year, the spotlight is a perfect opportunity for the Bills to stop talking about what a great team they have and actually show it.
Jay Skurski: It's getting harder to keep believing in the Bills. The players continually talk about how they believe they have a great team. Now would be a good time to actually show it. The Bills were supposed to be Super Bowl contenders. At 6-4, they've hardly been that. As Bill Parcells once said, "You are what your record says you are," and right now, it says the Bills are nothing more than a slightly above average team. The Saints come into Thursday's game with major injury issues. They're starting a backup quarterback. The Bills have the better quarterback, better receivers and better overall defense. They need a statement victory, similar to the one they earned two years ago on Thanksgiving against Dallas. With some hesitation, I'll say they get it. Bills, 30-17.
Katherine Fitzgerald: The Bills have not lost back-to-back games this season, but three losses in the last five games obviously raises concern. They bounced back easily after the Jacksonville debacle, but that was against the Jets. Now, they’ve got a short week to prepare for the Saints, who also are in desperate need of a win. Still, the Bills should have the edge over the banged-up Saints and backup quarterback Trevor Siemian.
The Bills’ run defense needs to tighten up after getting throttled by the Colts. Buffalo has lost every game it did not win the takeaway margin, and the Colts game was just the second time all year the Bills did not force a turnover.
Quarterback Josh Allen and his receivers should look to be more effective. The Saints are allowing 252.2 passing yards per game, which is 22nd in the NFL. The Bills have not been consistent lately, but Thursday should at least get them another win. If not, it will be one of the more awkward Thanksgiving dinners. Bills, 27-21.
Who has the advantage in the Buffalo Bills' Thanksgiving matchup with the New Orleans Saints?
Mark Gaughan: Traveling on a short week is a tough assignment, but the Bills are catching a break on Thanksgiving. The Saints are far more banged up than the Bills. As I wrote in Wednesday’s paper, the onus is on the defense to rise up. The Bills cannot lose to quarterback Trevor Siemian. Against the Saints’ stout defensive front, there may be a temptation to be pass-happy again. I think it would be a mistake. The Bills have to work to get some balance, which means allowing the run game to fail in the first half. Keep trying to run. Punting is not a terrible thing, as long as the defense is playing well. The defense needs to keep the Bills in the game to give the offense the luxury of failing. You had to respect the way Tom Brady attacked the Giants’ Cover 2 shell Monday night. By my count, 36 of his passes were either simple checkdowns, short outs or throws to the middle of the field. Josh Allen should take note. Bills, 20-16.
Jason Wolf: The Saints just allowed three rushing touchdowns to Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts. Here comes Josh Allen on a short week, with little time to rest and prepare. Expect the Bills’ quarterback to make a statement on the national stage – both throwing and running the ball – after the embarrassing loss to the Colts on Sunday. The Saints will try to follow the established blueprint to beat the Bills: Being physical and running the ball. But they could have trouble without running backs Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram. Bills, 31-28.
Rachel Lenzi: This once appeared to be an intriguing Thanksgiving matchup. Given the outcome of Sunday’s games for both teams, this could turn into a battle of attrition. The Bills are second in the AFC East – not the place anyone projected them to be near the end of November – after a series of losses that have called the legitimacy of their Super Bowl projections into question. The Saints haven’t been the same since Alvin Kamara was injured. The Bills might have an edge, as they wield a well-functioning quarterback in Josh Allen. But the Bills' defense needs to rebound quickly from getting thrashed by Colts running back Jonathan Taylor. Quarterback Trevor Siemian has averaged 230 yards and two touchdowns in four games, but the Saints are 0-3 after he replaced Jameis Winston as the starter. Siemian is ultimately a stopgap, and the Bills' secondary should feast on the Saints receivers, who are among the bottom of the NFL in production. Bills, 21-14.