When the Buffalo Bills invade New Orleans tonight, they will have many matchups working in their favor, thanks to a dizzying array of injuries that have put the Saints at an extreme competitive disadvantage.
Here's a deeper dive into what to expect:
Game: Buffalo Bills at New Orleans Saints.
Date: Nov. 25, 8:20 p.m.
Venue: Caesars Superdome, New Orleans.
Records: Bills 6-4; Saints 5-5.
Betting info: Bills by 6. Over/under, 45.
Saints: DE Marcus Davenport (shoulder), RB Alvin Kamara (knee), DE Tanoh Kpassagnon (ankle) and T Ryan Ramczyk (knee) are out; T Terron Armstead (knee, shoulder) and RB Mark Ingram (knee) are questionable.
ABOUT THE BILLS
A 41-15 loss to the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday exposed a previously consistent defense led by safeties Micah Hyde (42 tackles, three interceptions, two fumble recoveries) and Jordan Poyer (team-high 56 tackles and four interceptions). Even after the game, the Bills still are allowing the fewest yards per game in the league and second-fewest points. And now they have MLB Tremaine Edmunds back from a hamstring injury after a two-game absence. QB Josh Allen was victimized by two interceptions and limited to 209 yards on 21-of-35 passing. Much-maligned RB Devin Singletary actually is having a tremendously efficient season, averaging 5.0 yards on a team-high 83 attempts. He's also caught 25 passes. Allen's top target is WR Stefon Diggs (60 catches, 773 yards, six TDs).
ABOUT THE SAINTS
Previously owners of the league's top-ranked run defense, the Saints slipped to third after a 40-29 loss at Philadelphia in which the Eagles averaged 4.8 yards on a staggering 50 attempts. After losing starting QB Jameis Winston to an injury, the Saints are 0-3 in the games started by Trevor Siemian (82-for-144, 920 yards, eight TDs, two interceptions). They also will be without injured RB Alvin Kamara, one of the league's most dynamic weapons with 530 yards on the ground, 310 more through the air and seven total TDs. Fellow RB Mark Ingram also is injured (knee) and may not play. The 32-year-old has carried 45 times for 205 yards.
Bills RBs vs. Saints MLB Demario Davis
They won't need to do what the Eagles did last week, but the Bills probably will have to have an effective running game to make their offense function the right way. And this is where Davis, their leading tackler, comes in. Davis also has 3.0 of their 23 sacks. Bills RB Devin Singletary is averaging 5.0 yards per carry. But the question, like every week, is "how committed are the Bills to the running game?"
Bills QB Josh Allen vs. Saints S Malcolm Jenkins
One of the certainties of this matchup is the Saints trying to confuse Allen with disguised looks, and few have better instincts than Jenkins, who's been in the league since 2009 and still plays at a high level.
Allen's interception percentage of 2.1 is higher than all but his rookie season. And if he's not alert at all times in this one, he's going to add to his already dubious total of eight, including two last week.
Bills safeties vs. Saints RB Mark Ingram
Ingram is questionable with his knee injury. But regardless of his availability, there's no question the Saints will try to copy the blueprint to defeat the Bills' defense provided by the Colts last week: Run right at them.
The Bills rarely come out of their nickel base defense, and because they make it almost impossible to throw the ball over their heads, the best alternative is to take what's given, which is room to run, as we saw last week. The entire secondary will have to tackle better to prevent a repeat performance.
Let's see: The Saints don't have their top quarterback or running back. Their second-team running back is 32 years old and questionable with a knee injury. Leading sack producer Marcus Davenport is out and they have no dynamic deep receiving threats.
If the Bills can't take advantage of this and blow their overmatched opponents out, there will not be much hope for them getting back to the playoffs this year, much less repeating as AFC East champs.
The feeling here is that even with the key players they're missing, the Bills figure things out in spectacular fashion.
Bills 34, Saints 15.