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Scouting Report: Bills have to take advantage of Saints team decimated by injuries

Scouting Report: Bills have to take advantage of Saints team decimated by injuries

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Saints 47, Bills 10: Our Favorite Photos (copy)

Unlike the last time the two teams played in 2017, the Bills won't have to deal with Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) on Thursday night. 

When the Bills run: Matt Breida has given the Buffalo Bills’ running game a boost. He’s aiming for his third straight game with at least 50-plus yards from scrimmage. Breida narrowly played more snaps than running back Zack Moss in Week 11 against Indianapolis, and it wouldn’t be a big surprise if that continued. Running back Devin Singletary had 101 yards from scrimmage in the Bills’ Thanksgiving win over Dallas in 2019. Singletary leads the Bills in rushing with 415 yards on 83 carries – a healthy average of 5.0 yards per attempt. The New Orleans Saints are tough against the run, allowing just 89.8 yards per game, which ranks third in the NFL. New Orleans’ Cam Jordan is stout against the run. EDGE: Saints.

When the Bills throw: Quarterback Josh Allen has two or more touchdown passes in eight of his past nine games on the road. Since the beginning of the 2020 season, Allen has a quarterback rating of 105.9 in road games, which is third highest in the NFL. He’s thrown for 4,088 yards and 30 touchdowns in 13 road games over that span. Tight end Dawson Knox had a season-high six catches for 80 yards last week against the Colts. Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore is one of just three defensive backs in the NFL to have 10 or more passes defensed in five straight seasons. EDGE: Bills.

When the Saints run: The Bills have lost five straight games against the Saints (their last win in New Orleans was Dec. 27, 1998), and in the last meeting, which came on Nov. 12, 2017, New Orleans scored six rushing touchdowns in a 47-10 win. Unfortunately for New Orleans, four of those rushing touchdowns were scored by Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram. Kamara won’t play because of a knee injury, and Ingram is questionable with a knee injury of his own. If they can’t play, the Saints would be left with Tony Jones Jr. and Dwayne Washington on their active roster. EDGE: Bills.

When the Saints throw: Playing in place of injured starter Jameis Winston, Saints quarterback Trevor Siemian has thrown for at least two touchdown passes in each of his three starts. He produced four touchdowns last week against the Eagles, although a lot of his production came in garbage time. Saints receiver Marquez Callaway has six receiving touchdowns this season and is looking to extend his streak of games with a touchdown catch to four. EDGE: Bills.

Special teams: Consider Isaiah McKenzie put on notice. The Bills started rookie wide receiver Marquez Stevenson’s 21-day practice window Tuesday, giving them three weeks to decide if they’ll add Stevenson to the active roster or keep him on injured reserve. The timing is interesting in that it comes after McKenzie lost a crucial fumble against the Colts. The Bills simply can’t tolerate that kind of mistake. EDGE: Even.

Coaching: Sean McDermott described the mood of his team as somber following the loss to the Colts. The Bills’ coach has been tasked with making sure his team turns the page and makes the necessary corrections on a short week.

“It's not just going to go away. It's something that we have to fix and that takes effort, that takes commitment and I know the team is working hard to get it done,” McDermott said.

The biggest challenge for Saints coach Sean Payton, who is 3-0 in his career against the Bills, is preparing a roster that’s been decimated by injuries. EDGE: Even.

Prediction: Bills 30, Saints 17

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News Sports Reporter

I started at The Buffalo News in 2009, and have previously been honored as one of the top 10 beat writers in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors for my coverage of the Bills. I live in Amherst with my wife, Melissa, and son, Elliott.

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