Saints vs. Bills: Players to Watch

Right off the bat, LeSean McCoy is in line for a big game. Now, whether it is on the ground or through the air with checkdowns and screens is yet to be known.  Since coming off their Week 6 bye, and not counting last Thursday night’s abysmal rushing attack, McCoy has totaled 50 carries, racking up 242 yards (4.84 YPC) and 3 touchdowns.  The Saints have allowed two 100 yard rushers in two out of their last three games (Aaron Jones & Jordan Howard), and give up 116 rushing yards per game this season.  With the arrival of Kelvin Benjamin, defenses will start to respect the passing game, which will only benefit McCoy and run game.

Kelvin Benjamin is an obvious one, but we are going to talk about Zay Jones here.  McCoy wont be the only Bill benefiting directly from Benjamin becoming the new “X” receiver, as this will allow the rookie to play the “Z” spot.  This move will allow Jones to avoid immediate contact while coming off the line of scrimmage in press coverage situations and give him a chance to show his route running ability as well as the speed we all know he has.  Benjamin will obviously draw many double-teams against what is considered a Saints stingy defense (211 passing yards allowed per game) and this will only help Jones add to his five and a half targets per game.  This will also benefit Jordan Matthews & Deonte Thompson if the rookie shows any signs of the knee injury he suffered last Thursday.

On the defensive side of the ball, former third round pick, Preston Brown remains the heart and soul of the defense. Leading the team in tackles, Brown is the only Bills defender to play in all 541 defensive snaps this season.  Look for Brown to the lead way Sunday with tackles and possibly get his first sack of the season.  The Bills are ranked second in the league with 11 interceptions and they will have plenty of opportunities Sunday afternoon when they take on Drew Brees.  Brees averages 37 pass attempts per game for his career and 34 attempts per game this season so Micah Hyde should be on his toes and licking his chops in hopes that one or possibly two of those Brees passes winds up in his possession.  Hyde is currently second in the league with 5 interceptions, only behind second year stud Safety, Kevin Byard from Tennessee.  Pressure on Brees can be the ultimate factor in Sunday’s outcome, as the Saints offensive line have only allowed a league best 8 sacks all season which explains why Brees has thrown only 4 interceptions this year.  Buffalo ranks 27th in the league with 14 sacks and will need to focus their attention on getting to Brees early and often if they plan on altering the future Hall of Famer and his quick striking offense.

This game has the potential to be a 41-37 type of shootout but at the same time, the Saints defense has given up 13 points a game over the last three while the Bills have given up a league average of 21 a game over their last three, going 2-1.  Buffalo is 4-0 at home while New Orleans boasts an impressive 3-1 road record.  This will be a low-key game of the week and it should come down to the wire.  Bills fans will be in full-force Sunday (kick-off at 1pm EST.) and you should expect to see a lot of jerseys with the number 13 on it.






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