It’s Week 10, and we’re back again with the Interview with the Enemy series. This week, Matt Warren of Buffalo Rumblings answers 5 quick questions about the upcoming matchup between the New Orleans Saints and the Buffalo Bills.
Kelvin Benjamin is a face the Saints are incredibly familiar with and were surprised to see get traded at the deadline. How do you expect the Bills to utilize the big receiver in the offense?
We think Benjamin will take over as a downfield threat for Tyrod Taylor. Taylor has a propensity to not throw downfield and one of the reasons often cited is his height; he has a problem seeing receivers over the middle. Benjamin has monster size and it's hard to miss him running anywhere on the field. Even when Buffalo had Sammy Watkins, Tyrod needed to see him get open before he would throw it. We are hoping he will throw to Benjamin more just because of his size. He's only been with the team for a week, though, so expecting him to have a huge role this Sunday might be tricky.
If you were game-planning against the Bills, how would you attack their defense?
In a lot of ways, Buffalo's defense is built on one-dimensional players. It's the curse of being a first-year coach. For the last few weeks, teams haven't been huddling and going with a quick-tempo offense to keep the Bills from subbing in and out. With Drew Brees in the game, Buffalo will likely stay most of the game in nickel and even if they are sure tacklers, it will open up the run game. Buffalo will counter bringing Micah Hyde or Jordan Poyer into the box and it will open up the passing game. Keep Buffalo guessing and play to the mismatches that arrive in the linebacker corps and secondary.
The Saints have struggled at times with pass-catching RB's and that is one of LeSean McCoy's strong points. But what happened to him last week? Did the Jets just shut him down? Is he banged up?
He tweaked his groin during the game, but most of it was just horrible offensive line play and a well-executed plan by the Jets. Pressure up the middle, stout containment on the outside, and a spy who is there for Tyrod Taylor but can clean up on a handoff to McCoy. New York out-physicaled the Bills offensive line all game and McCoy couldn't get going on the ground or through the air. Even his lone bright spot, a 13-yard gain, came on a play where the designed run was blown up inside and he busted it outside.
Which player that Saints fans might not have heard of do you expect to make a big impact on the game?
Nick O'Leary has been the starting tight end since Charles Clay was hurt. While Clay might be back for this game, O'Leary has seen a lot of snaps in his place and done very well. Especially if the L-line keeps struggling, we expect to see more two-TE sets in the run game, with play-action, and some other passes to the tight end group so O'Leary will have a role.
Predictions for the game? Final score?
Buffalo is undefeated at home. They have 10 days to get ready for this game after playing on Thursday Night Football. Head coach Sean McDermott and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier know Brees as well as anyone on the defensive side of the ball. It's going to be in the 40s with a chance of rain. I think both teams are in the 20s, but the Bills have been living off turnovers and the Saints have at least two in four straight weeks. That last stat is enough to make me pick the Bills, who don't turn over the ball consistently. Buffalo 23-21.
Thank-you, Matt, for taking the time to answer our questions. Saints fans, make sure you check out Matt and the work his guys are doing over at Buffalo Rumblings. You can follow them on Twitter @BuffRumblings, and as always you can follow me @dunnellz.