The Buffalo Bills head into Week 8 with a tough matchup against the New Orleans Saints down in the Big Easy. The Saints are coming off of their only loss of the year to the New England Patriots two weeks ago and they should be well-rested. They’ll also be anxious to get back on the field after sitting on that Tom Brady-fueled comeback for two weeks.
The Bills will likely be without C.J. Spiller on Sunday, which is obviously bad for the Bills this weekend, but probably good for them long-term. Spiller’s ankle hasn’t been right for the last four weeks, but he’s played through it. He really needs to be at 100 percent to effectively contribute, so the week off should help him get back closer. Besides, while Spiller may be the most explosive back in the NFL when healthy, they have a pretty good duo in Fred Jackson and Tashard Choice in his absence.
The Bills will also be without linebacker Manny Lawson, who has set the edge for the Bills on defense all year. That might open the Bills up to big plays by running backs Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas. On the flip side, star tight end Jimmy Graham is questionable and may miss the game for the Saints, so the Bills might be able to cheat safeties over to cover the running backs out of the backfield.
It will be an uphill climb regardless for the Bill,s and one key stat will tell you why. In the last five years, the Saints have averaged 45 points coming off of their bye week; their low in that span is 34 points. While the Miami Dolphins looked lethargic coming off of the bye last week against the Bills, don’t expect the same from the Saints. They will have a gameplan to come out firing and get points on the board early. It will be on Thad Lewis and the offense to keep up, a tall task for the back-up QB.
For the record, I don’t necessarily think that the Bills will get blown out, nor do I think that they will give up 45 points. They simply don’t have enough firepower to keep up, however, and the Saints will separate from the Bills sometime in the second half.