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NFL: Alvin Kamara-less Saints home underdogs vs. Bills

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The Buffalo Bills and the New Orleans Saints are facing similar challenges.

They both are dealing with a short week as they prepare to meet Thursday night in New Orleans.

The Bills (6-4) are coming off a 41-15 home loss to Indianapolis and have lost three of five games after a fast start.

The Saints (5-5) are coming off a 40-29 loss at Philadelphia and have lost three games in a row for the first time since 2016.

Buffalo is a 6.0-point favorite on the road. The Bills are being backed by 78 percent of the bets and 79 percent of the spread-line money at DraftKings, while AI-driven analytics company Quarter 4 is forecasting Buffalo with a 57 percent chance of winning the game.

“I guess there’s some bad short turnarounds because you can’t really get back on the practice field for all that much time, and then there is some good to it so you can move on and move forward,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said. “You’d love to, like every week, have a good canvas to work on your fundamentals and continue to refine those techniques and things.

“But that’s not what we’re dealt with here. We’re dealt with a short week, just like the Saints are.”

Buffalo bounced back from a season-opening home loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers to win four in a row before its recent slide.

“We’ve seen how resilient we are,” tight end Dawson Knox said. “We know that offense, defense, special teams, we’ve got the parts that we need to succeed. I think it’s good to have a game coming up quick so we can get that bad taste out of our mouth.”

The Bills turned the ball over four times against the Colts, prompting quarterback Josh Allen to observe, “We’re a really good football team when we don’t bite ourselves in the butt.”

Indianapolis’ Jonathan Taylor rushed for 185 yards and scored five touchdowns, four on the ground.

Buffalo, which still leads the league in total defense and is second in scoring defense, is ninth in run defense (101.9 ypg). The Bills won’t face Saints running back Alvin Kamara, who will miss his third consecutive game because of a knee injury.

New Orleans also is coming off a subpar performing defending the run. The Eagles rushed for 242 yards, dropping the Saints from first to third in run defense (89.8).

“I want to be as far away from that last game as possible,” defensive end Cameron Jordan said.

Like the Bills, the Saints were plagued by turnovers, giving the ball away three times, including a pick-six, and not taking it away.

“I put our team in a hole early and it’s just too tough to dig yourself out of that,” said Trevor Siemian, who threw two interceptions after not throwing any in his first two starts since replacing injured Jameis Winston. “The margin for error is so small.

“The train is moving. We’ll be ready to play Thursday. The urgency is high right now is high, for sure. We know exactly where we’re at. We have to string some (wins) together, but it starts with this Thursday.”

In addition to Winston and Kamara, the Saints were missing three injured starting offensive linemen against the Eagles.

“There were a lot of things we did (last week) that weren’t injury-related,” Saints head coach Sean Payton said.

Mark Ingram (knee), who has been the featured rusher in Kamara’s absence, and starting defensive end Marcus Davenport (elbow) also missed practice Tuesday. He was officially listed as questionable after taking part in limited practice Wednesday, although Davenport was ruled out.

Right tackle Ryan Ramczyk (knee) defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon (ankle) are also out for the Saints, while left tackle Terron Armstead (knee/shoulder) is questionable. Offensive lineman Landon Young was placed on injured reserve this week with a foot injury.

Buffalo enters the game very healthy, with no one listed as missing practice time Wednesday.

The Saints have won the last five meetings with the Bills, including a 47-10 rout in Buffalo in 2017.

New Orleans is 3-0 all-time on Thanksgiving and is playing on the holiday for the third time in four seasons. Buffalo won at Dallas on Thanksgiving two years ago.

–Field Level Media

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