Two of football’s better teams meet head-to-head this week for just the 11th time in their NFL history, as the (6-2) New Orleans Saints travel to New Era Field in New York to take on the (5-3) Buffalo Bills (1pm ET Sunday).
In 2009, after decades of fans wearing paper bags over their heads in embarrassment, the New Orleans Saints, led by their franchise quarterback Drew Brees, reached the NFL’s promised land when they held the Lombardi Trophy in the air at Super Bowl XLIV.
It was a moment of triumph for the much-maligned franchise and one that showed them as a powerhouse in the NFC and one of the greatest offensive teams this league had ever seen. The Saints made the playoffs in each of the next two years and in three of the last four. But since then, the Saints have gone 7-9 in each of their last three seasons and never really seemed on the cusp of getting back to where they were when they won the Super Bowl.
Flash forward to 2017 and an 0-2 start to the season and once again, expectations were low in New Orleans. But now, a six-game winning streak later, and scoring outputs of at least 20 points per game, and the Saints have suddenly become one of the NFL’s biggest surprises this year.
Most preseason predictions had the Saints finishing dead last in the division, once again hitting that seven-win mark. However, the way things are going, the Saints might get that seventh win this Sunday, doing so with seven games left.
New Orleans is now the fifth ranked offense in the NFL in terms of total yards and is sixth in points per game, averaging 27.6 across their eight games so far. If you took just the Saints’ points from their six game winning streak, the team is averaging 33.6 points per game, which would be the highest such mark in the league.
Can the Bills Dethrone the Patriots in AFC East?
The Saints aren’t the NFL’s only surprise team this year as the Buffalo Bills currently sit just one game behind the New England Patriots for the AFC East crown. New England, the defending Super Bowl champions, have had a stranglehold over the division for the better part of a decade, and it seemed certain that would continue.
The Bills opened the season with a schedule that really didn’t look as soft as it’s become, with early games against the Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos, all teams that were expected to contend for the playoffs. As it has turned out however, only the Panthers, who Buffalo lost to, have been the real threat the Bills have faced up to this point. For the most part, the team has handled their schedule well, although of course there’s a loss or two the team probably wants back. That includes this past Sunday against the New York Jets.
Buffalo has been one of those deceptively good teams this year but they’ll certainly have a chance to prove it starting this Sunday. The Bills have one of the toughest schedules remaining compared to other playoff hopefuls, including two against the Patriots.
If the Bills are for real and a contender for the AFC East title, we will certainly know soon enough.
Influential Stats To Consider
- The total has hit the OVER in 14 of the last 20 games for the Bills, but UNDER in four of their last six against the Saints
- The Saints are 4-1 SU and ATS in their last five games against Buffalo.
- The Bills are just 6-9-3 in their last 18 games
Our Preview’s New Orleans Saints vs Buffalo Bills Betting Picks & Predictions
While the Bills may not be as good as their record suggests given the quality of opponents, it is hard to deny them their success at home. Buffalo is 4-0 when playing in New York and has an average margin of victory of 10.5 points in those games. Yes, most have been against less than great opponents, but it also suggests that this team is more comfortable when playing on its own turf.
However, it has been road sweet road for the Saints this year, following seasons of terrible away form. Any number of their players have been over-achieving, though defensive end Alex Okafor has really caught the eye lately. New Orleans is ninth in points allowed when on the road and 3-1 for both SU and ATS. So any home field advantage Buffalo may have had looks vulnerable against these new-look Saints.
Buffalo has been playing well this season, even with a softer schedule, but it is hard to bet against a team as hot as the Saints at the moment. Brees is currently top-10 in TD, passing yards, QB rating and completion percentage, of which he leads the NFL at 71.6.
- The Saints are favored by 2.5 to 3pts with the best sports betting sites for US citizens. Expect New Orleans to cover that in their seventh straight win of the season. Although you can get -2.5pts for -120 odds with 5Dimes, we are tempted by betting Saints -3pts at a big-looking +108 with BetOnline.
- Looking at the total points situation for this NFL game, this preview recommends taking the over 48pts @ -110 with Bovada, 5Dimes or Bookmaker. You can get over 47.5pts with BetOnline but for odds of -118. We expect a high scoring affair.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.