Buffalo @ New Orleans
-Saints RB Alvin Kamara (knee) hasn't played since week 9 and didn't practice Monday or Tuesday. Mark Ingram (knee) showed up on the injury report Tuesday and didn't practice. Both statuses are up in the air. 2020 UDFA Tony Jones Jr will get the nod if both can't go.
-Saints RT Ryan Ramczyk (knee) missed week 10 and didn't practice Monday or Tuesday. Ramczyk is one of the game's premier tackles, but James Hurst has played well in relief.
-Saints LT Terron Armstead (knee/shoulder) missed weeks 10 and 11, but looks ready to return after getting in limited sessions Monday/Tuesday.
-Saints DE Marcus Davenport (shoulder) did not practice Monday or Tuesday.
Spread: The line has since shifted away from the model at 6.5. We're obviously still taking it. As of writing (Wednesday afternoon), 33% of tickets and 51% of cash are on the Saints.
Variance: Who the fuck knows which one of the teams will show up, Football Outsiders ranks the Saints 27th in variance and the Bills 32nd.
When the Bills have the ball:
Josh Allen is 14th in PFF passing grades (75.8) while completing 65.7% of his passes (0.9% above expectation) and gaining 7.4 yards per attempt. After breaking out last year, Allen has taken a step back due to his tendency to throw the ball at the guys wearing the wrong colored jerseys -- his 18 turnover worthy plays leads the league. He's still playing solid football, however, and his 340 yards on the ground are 3rd most among QBs. The offensive line struggles, with all members grading below 70. His primary receivers by projected targets: Stef Diggs, Cole Beasley, Emmanuel Sanders, and Dawson Knox. Diggs is one of the better receivers in all of football, while Beasley (slot) and Sanders are solid complimentary options. Devin Singletary and Zack Moss handle the RB carries, with Allen and Moss being the preferred options when they get close to the goal line. The Bills offense is 18th in DVOA (15th in the passing game/16th on the ground). The Saints are 5th overall in defensive DVOA (14 vs the pass, 1st against the run). The battle in the trenches should be a mismatch in favor of the Saints. With Marcus Davenport and Cam Jordan on the edges, then David Onyemata and Shy Tuttle on the inside, it's one of the better defensive lines in all of football. LB Demario Davis is routinely one of the better run stopping linebackers, and this year is no exception. The secondary has it's strengths, between Marshon Lattimore (outside corner), PJ Williams (slot), Marcus Williams (safety), and Malcolm Jenkins (safety). However, outside corner Paulson Adebo has been a dream for opposing QBs -- he has a coverage grade of 53.7 and QBs have a 107.8 rating when targeting him.
When the Saints have the ball:
Trevor Siemian is 26th in PFF passing grades (67.4) while completing 56.9% of his passes (2.8% below expectation) and gaining 6.4 yards per attempt. These aren't impressive numbers, hence why he's the backup who's jumped around from team to team. The offensive line is very strong at the tackle positions -- and I expect them to be here even with the injury uncertainties -- but are garbage on the interior. The receiving trio of Marquez Callaway, Tre'Quon Smith (slot) and Deonte Harris is one of the worst in the league -- though it's worth noting that PFF has Harris ranked as the 2nd best receiver by their grading system. Unfortunately, the Saints disagree -- Harris is averaging just over 4 targets per game. The running back situation is murky as of writing (see above) -- we're hoping Kamara can play as he's an asset in the passing game and Mark Ingram is washed. In total, the Saints are 17th in offensive DVOA (9th passing, 1st running). Similar to the other side, I like the Bills in the trenches. Jerry Hughes and Gregory Rousseau are both solid off the edge, and I think that should be a fun matchup with the Saints tackles. However, DTs Harrison Phillips and Ed Oliver and LB Matt Milano are all excellent and should have their way with the Saints interior line -- particularly Oliver as a pass rusher. Tre'Davious White, Taron Johnson, and Levi Wallace is a solid trio of corners, and Micah Hyde/Jordan Poyer are one of the better safety tandems in football. It should be of no surprise that the Bills are 1st in DVOA (1st against the pass, 12th against the run.