It doesn’t look good for New Orleans.
The injuries for the New Orleans Saints just keep coming. Later this evening, the Saints are scheduled to be without QB Jameis Winston, RB Alvin Kamara, WR Michael Thomas, K Wil Lutz, LG Andrus Peat, RT Ryan Ramczyk, DE Marcus Davenport, DE Tanoh Kpassagnon, TE Adam Trautman, and OL Landon Young. RB Mark Ingram and LT Terron Armstead are questionable and could also miss. On the other side of the game, the Saints’ opponent, the Buffalo Bills, are generally healthy and bring Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, and Emmanuel Sanders into the Super Dome.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Saints are currently 6.5 point home underdogs, which as you might recall is a 2-point increase from the original 4.5-point line in favor of Buffalo. Additional injuries will do that.
The Buffalo Bills have been particularly prone to out-of-nowhere dud performances this season, but none of those have come in consecutive weeks. They’re 3-0 both straight-up and against the spread coming off losses in 2021, and all of their wins have come by 15 or more points.
So why are they laying just 5.5 Thursday night against a New Orleans Saints team mired in a three-game losing streak? Beats us. The entire gang is laying the points.
“The well-coached Saints really need this and they do have obvious advantages when it comes to location and timing here,” Gagnon admitted, “but that’s not enough. This should have been a seven-plus-point spread from the get-go. The Bills have had their issues with elite running backs, but Alvin Kamara is far from 100 percent for the Saints, and interim starting quarterback Trevor Siemian has come back to earth. I don’t expect this to be a blowout, but the Bills should take care of business with a multi-score victory.”
Kamara and Mark Ingram are both dealing with knee injuries, and it’s entirely possible neither will play on Thursday night. Throw in tight end Adam Trautman’s fresh knee injury and it’s difficult to see the Saints keeping up here.
Score Prediction: Bills 28, Saints 17
MDS’s take: Bills quarterback Josh Allen has not been playing well lately, but he’ll certainly play better than Trevor Siemian, who is going to struggle mightily against a tough Bills defense.
MDS’s pick: Bills 20, Saints 10.
Florio’s take: It’s another get-right game for the Bills, after another unexpected got-wrong performance.
Florio’s pick: Bills 30, Saints 20.
On paper, this feels like a game that the Saints have zero chance to win, but if I’ve learned one thing in my life about picking NFL games, it’s that the Bills might actually be the team that has a zero chance to win and that’s mainly because this game is being played on a HOLIDAY in New Orleans. If you’ve ever been to New Orleans for any holiday, even flag day, then you already know that everyone in town goes to Bourbon Street and drinks for 24 straight hours, which leads to a completely crazy crowd at the game, which leads to one of the best home-field advantages possible. Last month, we saw this play out in real time when the Saints hosted the Buccaneers on Halloween. Had I paid attention to the fact the game was being played on Halloween, I would have picked the Saints to win by 97, but I ignored the fact that it was Halloween and picked the Buccaneers to win. The Buccaneers did not win, because winning a holiday game in New Orleans is borderline impossible. If you need more proof of this, just look at last year’s schedule: They scored 52 points in a Christmas win. They won on Columbus Day. They even win on Mexican holidays and I know that because they won on the Day of the Dead last year against the Bears.
This time around, the Saints are hosting a Thanksgiving game and let me just say that if the NFL’s plan this year was to get the drunkest possible crowd for a Thanksgiving game, then I’m pretty sure they’re going to accomplish that. I mean, when you put a game near Bourbon Street, there’s a 100 percent chance that people will be drunk, and when you multiply that by the fact that people will be drinking all day because this game is at night, you basically get the Thanksgiving version of Mardi Gras.
That being said, the only rule I have that supersedes “Don’t pick against the Saints at home on a holiday” is “always pick against Trevor Siemian.” The Saints are 0-3 since Siemian took over as their starting quarterback and although I’m not going to pin the blame for those losses on him, I am going to pin most of the blame on him. If Alvin Kamara plays Thursday, I could see this being close, but if he’s out, I think the Bills win by at least a touchdown.
The pick: Bills 31-24 over Saints
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