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Can Bills find their ‘mojo’ against surging Saints?

Photo of Saints DT David Onyemata from neworleanssaints.com.

At the start of the 2017 NFL regular season, it looked like the matchup between the Bills and Saints would present a favorable opportunity for the Bills. However, after losing their first two games and going on a six-game win streak, the Saints will be bringing more than their notorious high-powered offense to New Era Field on Sunday against the Bills.

The surprising reason the Saints are surging is because their defense has been solidified by defensive coordinator Dennis Allen. After Rob Ryan was fired (and subsequently hired to turn his brother Rex’s horrid defense in Buffalo around), Allen did a masterful job retooling the Saints defense.

HomeNewsHere.com’s Joel A. Erickson described why the Saints’ turnaround on defense is real.

“With help coming from all over and Allen calling more blitzes than anybody in the NFL, (Cameron) Jordan has been able to bring his full powers to bear on opposing quarterbacks, racking up seven sacks and 14 quarterback hits as he makes a case for NFL Defensive Player of the Year.”

Photo of QB Drew Brees from NOLA.com.

While quarterback Drew Brees and the Saints’ offense have wreaked havoc on opposing defenses for years, their lapses on defense forced Brees to outscore opponents in order to have a chance to win. That’s certainly not the case this season in New Orleans.

Allen explained why they chose to emphasize drafting defensive players and be methodical in turning the Saints’ defense around.

“All the players that we drafted on the defensive side of the ball will be productive players for us, not only now, but in the future,” Allen said. “We don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about why things happened the way they did; we just take the tools that we have available to us and try to do the best that we can.”

Those “tools” include defensive tackle David Onyemata, selected in the fourth round of the 2016 draft. Onyemata is already on fire in his second season in the NFL. Check out what Buffalo News’ Chris Trapasso found researching Onyemata’s stats from Pro-Football Focus (PFF).

“On 135 pass-rushing snaps in 2017, Onyemata already has 10 pressures (two sacks, one hit, and seven hurries). He owns a +10.3 overall PFF grade (+2.1 pass-rushing, +8.2 vs. the run). He’s made 17 total tackles on the season, and 12 of those have been “stops” for the Saints defense. He’s missed two tackles.”

Yikes. That could be bad news for a Bills offensive line battling injuries and coming off a poor performance against the Jets. Bills tackle Cordy Glenn is (again) bothered by nagging foot/ankle issues that just won’t seem to go away.

Dec 27, 2015; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills tackle Cordy Glenn (77) against the Dallas Cowboys at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Buffalo beats Dallas 16 to 6. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

After missing all of training camp and the preseason, it appears Glenn cannot stay on the field consistently, and that has to be a big concern because the Saints will show no mercy blasting through the Bills’ porous offensive line to get after Tyrod Taylor or LeSean McCoy. And we all know how solid (not) the right side of the offensive line has been all season (rolls eyes).

The Bills can’t afford to get blown out by the Saints after failing to show up at MetLife Stadium and being thoroughly embarrassed by the Jets and dropping to a 5-3 record. With four divisional games in December against the Dolphins and Patriots, the Bills must eek out every win they can before December.

If they lose two games in a row the Bills will let much of the positive ‘mojo’ they built over their unexpected early success go out the window. They must find a way to “defend their dirt” and show why they still should be taken seriously as contenders.

Photo of QB Tyrod Taylor from NewYorkUpstate.com.

Unfortunately, a loss like the one the Bills suffered at the hands of the Jets did little to encourage anyone outside WNY to “BILLieve” the Bills are for real. Heck, even within our own FAMbase there was trauma to our sensitive collective psyche after that beatdown. It took only one crushing loss on national television to blow up a half-season’s worth of trust the team wouldn’t embarrass us again.

If the Bills can find a way to dig down deep and snap the Saints’ six-game win streak it would go a long way in restoring faith among the FAMbase. There’s arguably never been a more devoted fan base who deserves a chance more than ours. Go Bills.

Editor’s babble: After an aborted attempt to return to WNY for the upcoming game against the Saints (thanks United Airlines), I’m back to writing from my home base in Wyoming. I even packed venison jerky to give to Eddie Yarbrough, sniff. If you lean toward punishing yourself on Twitter, you can find me @RobynMundyWYO. Thanks for reading our blog.


The views and opinions expressed on this website blog are soley those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Buffalo FAMbase, Inc., and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Robyn Mundy

About Robyn Mundy

Robyn Mundy is Editor-in-Chief of the BillsMafia blog at BillsMafia.com. She's a retired oncology nurse & psychotherapist who loves to write about her life-long passion for the Buffalo Bills, and occasionally something of clinical or social relevance. Robyn lives with her husband Gary and their dogs in the foothills of the glorious Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. Robyn is also a proud founding sponsor. Follow her on Twitter at @robynmundyWYO.

14 thoughts on “Can Bills find their ‘mojo’ against surging Saints?

  1. Looks like the Ravens have a pretty favorable path that could poo poo the Bills quest to reach at 9-7. Better hope the Ravens continue to disappoint. Then again, the Bills have a solid shot at not even reaching 9-7.

  2. Losing two in a row would continue to lower our enthusiasm towards the Bills. Win this one and Bills fans can start to feel somewhat better about their chances.

    Before the Jets loss, I was thinking the Bills had a shot of winning one against the Patriots (with Brady), now I’m not so sure of that. Miami, even though they’ve been struggling and traded away Jay Ajayi are no pushover either.

  3. Steve, agreed. If the Bills can lose to the Jets and Bengals on the road, I’m not sure any game on the road is a gimme. The season might already be toast by the time they play Miami in their house., though.

  4. Good morning…

    Come on snap out of it, one bad game and the town is graveling… There are no gimmes in the NFL, every game is a battle. The Jets handed them their heads.

    It will be a good game this week, the Saints have won 6 in a row but they are coming into Buffalo. We have the home field advantage.

  5. steve-
    win the next one and we can feel a LOT better about the bills chances- the saints are making big waves lately!
    goose-
    i agree with your last post but would not bet on it- unfortunately we have seen the wheels of this train fall off way too many times- last year starting with the Jets game!
    bounce back and the culture has changed and we can trust the process again. I want to trust that effin process, i really do!

    • I echo your sentiments anello, I want to trust the process and feel confident that McBeane knows what they’re doing.

      6-3 sounds a lot better than 5-4. Currently, the Bills hold the 6th spot in the AFC playoff picture. That could easily change if the Bills start racking up losses.

  6. Goose, we’ll know soon enough. If not Sunday, then the following. They lose the next two and it’s full on “same ol’ Bills” time.

  7. This is on the money:by PFT’s power rankings:

    13. Bills (5-3; Prev No. 7): We doubt them and they prove us wrong. And then we believe in them, and they prove us wrong.

  8. The Saints will be coming into Buffalo with the weather expected to be cold and rainy let’s see how those Dome Boys like playing in that weather!

    Plus, the Bills have had extra days off to prepare and heal. Benjamin has now had practice time and McD knows about the Saints after having to play them 2x a year while he was with the Panthers.

    I like their chances this week. DC Frazier needs to dial up a few blitzes as the pass rush has been on mute the last couple of game.

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