Who: New Orleans Saints (5-2)
When: Sunday October 27, 1:00 p.m. EST
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
The Line: New Orleans (-11)
Buffalo Bills Offense vs. New Orleans:
Finally, it appears as though C.J. Spiller will sit. He’s been way less than 100 percent since injuring his ankle in Week 4 and it’s been frustrating as a Bills fan to see him play even though he was clearly hampered by his injury.
In any event, Fred Jackson will likely get the bulk of the work yet again. He’s been banged up as well, but he’s arguably the toughest guy on the roster. There was a play last week against the Miami Dolphins that looked like he’d done something serious to his knee only to see him return the next play and bulldoze into defenders. The guy is tough.
Spelling him/them will again be Tashard Choice, who is a third back for a reason. He drops passes; he misses holes; he occasionally gets some yards; He does what a third back does.
Meanwhile, passing the ball might be an issue. The Saints have a defense sitting just outside the top ten in total defense and fourth in points allowed. The Bills will get their shots in with the run game as they always do, but it’ll be a tough test for Thad Lewis this week.
In his three games so far, Lewis has had flashes but it’s been a fairly big struggle. He dances a bit too much in the pocket when he should get rid of the ball and doesn’t take off running nearly enough. But he’s got a strong arm and is fairly accurate. He’s doing the job right now.
Receivers Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods will need to be on and do their best to get open, giving Lewis a chance to succeed. They’ll need to help him by coming back for underthrown balls, break their routes when pressure emerges, and catch everything that gets near them if the Bills want a chance to win.
Key: The passing game vs. the Saints secondary.
Bills Defense vs. New Orleans
This could get ugly.
The Saints have the second best passing offense and the sixth best scoring offense in the game right now, led by none other than Drew Brees. He’s completing over 66 percent of his passes for 1,958 yards and 14 touchdowns. He will destroy bad defenses and leave them a weeping mess. He’s a field general that does not have bad days. Meanwhile, the Bills’ defense has the 24th total defense and have given up the 12th most passing yardage. There will be blood.
The Saints don’t run the ball with the best of them, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have dangerous men in the backfield. Darren Sproles is the mighty might that can do it all: run between the tackles, break it outside and most importantly he can catch the ball. He’s at his most dangerous out of the backfield as evidenced by his 32 catches — second-best on the team. Fellow running back Pierre Thomas is also a dangerous receiver; he’s next with 29 catches so far.
As far as receivers go, this begins and ends with Marques Colston. He’s the main outside target and the go-to guy on the receiving unit. Part of that is due to the injury of Lance Moore. But part of that is because Brees’ favorite target is super-duper-star tight end Jimmy Graham. To say that he’s a monster is an understatement. Graham, the former college basketball player, is currently tied for third in the league with six touchdown catches and sixth in the league with 593 yards on 37 catches. He’s going to get his catches, he’s going to do his damage, and it’s just a matter of how much of a rampage he goes on.
Key: Pass rush vs. the Saints offensive line/Jimmy Graham vs. the little people
Graham will catch 10 balls, near 150 yards, and haul in a pair of touchdowns. Bills fans will cringe with every throw to him.
Jackson will have his worst day rushing but, since the Bills will be trailing most of this one, will have his best receiving day.
Mario Williams gets at least one sack because the guy has been a monster this season.
The Saints ground game does almost as much damage as the passing game because the Bills still can’t stop the run.
Prediction: 41-20 New Orleans