After a short hiatus, Saints Wire is back to it with your seasonal opponent matchups! Next on the docket: the Buffalo Bills. The Bills have one thing on their mind this season and it’s Super Bowl or bust. With talent like quarterback Josh Allen, wide receiver Stefon Diggs, and a stout defense, Buffalo has just as good a shot as any in making it to the big dance.
But first, they will have to travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints on Thanksgiving Day. It is a matchup that fans of both teams should relish as it will be against two teams gearing up for a playoff run in primetime on Thanksgiving.
Here is what to expect out of the Bills:
Nov 22, 2018; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) and defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) and running back Alvin Kamara (41) and quarterback Drew Brees (9) and defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins (98) are interviewed by Michelle Tafoya of NBC Sports in the after their game against the Atlanta Falcons on Thanksgiving at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
When: 7:20 p.m. CT, Thursday, Nov. 25 2021
Where: Caesar's Superdome, New Orleans, La.
Expectations for Buffalo
New Orleans Saints defensive back Chris Carr (31) breaks up a pass intended for Buffalo Bills tight end Scott Chandler (84) during the first half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)
As mentioned before, the Bills see anything short of a Super Bowl appearance in 2021 as a failure. In 2020, Josh Allen made the proverbial "next step" and solidified himself as one of the more lethal signal callers in the league. With an entire offseason under their belt, the Bills are looking like a serious contender and one of the teams to beat in the AFC. On paper, they are the favorites to win the AFC East for the second-straight season. It is clear that the New England Patriots could once again contend for the title, but the Bills still outshine them when it comes to talent and unit cohesiveness. Buffalo's schedule affords them the ability to play in a lot of winnable games while also facing tests like the Saints, reigning Super Bowl-champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Kansas City Chiefs. By the time the Bills visit New Orleans, both teams should have already sorted out their identities for the season.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (17) with a social justice sticker for Breonna Taylor on his helmet against the Detroit Lions during an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. (AP Images/Rick Osentoski)
The Bills made some shrewd moves this offseason to help beef up their offense for the season. Buffalo clearly has high hopes, as evidenced by their moves, and reinforced those hopes with capable players across the board in free agency. Here are some of their top acquisitions:
Emmanuel Sanders, Wide Receiver
Mitchell Trubisky, Quarterback
Jacob Hollister, Tight End
Allen was given two new weapons in former Saints receiver Sanders, and tight end Jacob Hollister. Sanders is a significant addition to their offense to help complement Diggs. Hollister was signed to help a tight end room that could not get the job done last season. He may be able to provide some stability. Trubisky on the other hand is a signal of what the Bills hope to achieve. Allen is a prolific quarterback, but an injury to him with no real Plan B could spell the end of the season for the Bills. Trubisky could be a good candidate for a change of scenery type move, much like Teddy Bridgewater or Jameis Winston. But, he also serves as a very viable Plan B.
2021 NFL draft
First round, 30th overall: DE Greg Rosseau, Miami (Fla.)
Second round, 61st overall: DE Carlos Basham Jr., Wake Forest
Third round, 93rd overall: OL Spencer Brown, Northern Iowa
With how good Buffalo's defensive has been recently, it wasn't surprising to see them draft with the future in mind. Being able to draft the best player available and not for need is a great place for a franchise to be in. Rosseau is just that. The Miami product has a high ceiling, but is still learning the position. He likely won't be a starter to begin the season and the Bills will likely lead him in slowly so he can develop. Basham Jr. is another defensive end, which shows that the Bills understand the game is won in the trenches. They are hoarding talent at the position, but just like Rosseau, Basham Jr. is likely going to be given time to develop. Brown is the most likely to see significant playing time out of the top three selections, however, like the previous two, he isn't "needed" this season. The NFL is a drastic change of pace from Northern Iowa in terms of competition, but his size should help him stick around.
Nov 15, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown (15) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The Bills lost little in the way of impact talent. And those they did lose were replaced with an upgrade, again, decent offseason for Buffalo. If we have to list some names as "key" losses, they would be:
WR John Brown
LT Ty Nsekhe
WR Andre Roberts
Brown was a fan favorite in Buffalo, but his injury history and contract weren't justifiable for a team looking to make upgrades in multiple facets of the roster. The addition of Sanders will potentially bring more stability to the position and will also allow for a veteran voice to remain in the the receivers room. Nsekhe was a backup tackle and the Bills addressed that through the draft and free agency. Roberts, on the other hand, brought a certain skillset to the punt/kick return table. His speed, athleticism and ability to see the field really set the Bills return unit apart from the majority of those in the league. His departure may be the one Buffalo feels the most.
Series History and Preview
Nov 12, 2017; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Trey Edmunds (33) is embraced by running back Mark Ingram (22), outside linebacker Craig Robertson (52) and Saints fans after scoring a touchdown during the fourth quarter of a game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
The Bills and Saints have met 11 times over the course of their two franchises' history and New Orleans leads the series 7-4, riding a five-game winning streak dating back to 2001. The last time Buffalo visited the Big Easy in 2013, the Saints won handily 35-17 off of five Drew Brees touchdown passes. New Orleans has a tough test to face in the Bills, perhaps their hardest of the season. Buffalo will be looking to build on what should be a dominant season up to this point. Meanwhile, New Orleans may just be getting by depending on how the season is going. Plenty of questions will need to be answered in terms of player availability due to injury and suspension, as well as how well the squad is adapting without Brees. Either way, it should make for a fantastic showdown over Thanksgiving dinner.