The Saints are putting their undefeated Thanksgiving on the line against the Bills in 2021.
New Orleans made its Thanksgiving debut in 2010. They were the reigning Super Bowl champions at the time when Drew Brees helped lead the team to 30-27 victory over the Jon Kitna-led Cowboys. Since then, they have appeared twice more, beating the Falcons in a home-and-home series during the 2018 and 2019 seasons to achieve a 3-0 record.
Now, the Saints will return to the Superdome on Thanksgiving with the team’s toughest task yet. They must beat the Bills without several key pieces on offense.
New Orleans (5-5) will be starting Trevor Siemian at quarterback, and Siemian has posted an 0-3 record as starter since Jameis Winston’s season-ending ACL tear. Alvin Kamara (knee) and the team’s top two offensive tackles Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk will be out as well. And they’re already without top receiver Michael Thomas.
Can Siemian regain the form he showcased in relief of Winston against the Buccaneers? That will be the Saints’ best hope of competing. But it’s hard to count on that happening against a solid Buffalo defense.
That said, the Bills (6-5) have struggled in recent weeks. They have a 2-3 record in their last five games and were just blown out 41-15 by the Colts. The defense couldn’t contain Jonathan Taylor (five TDs) and quarterback Josh Allen has been inconsistent to date. The defense should bounce back in an easier matchup, but can the Bills’ one-dimensional, pass-heavy offense keep the Saints’ defense guessing enough to win in hostile territory on a short week? That’s not an easy task.
This game looks like the best of the three Thanksgiving matchups overall, and it will go a long way toward determining the potential Wild Card participants in both the AFC and NFC.
Sporting News is tracking live scoring updates and highlights from Bills vs. Saints on Thanksgiving. Follow for complete results from the NFL Week 12 game.
Bills vs. Saints score
Bills vs. Saints live updates, highlights from NFL Thanksgiving game
(All times Eastern.)
9:16 p.m. — Siemian follows up the fourth-down sneak with two straight incompletions. It’s third-and-10, but Tre’Davious White — the Bills’ top cornerback — is down. He’s being attended to and will have to miss at least one play.
9:14 p.m. — The Saints are getting aggressive. They were barely short of a first down on their first drive after the Buffalo field goal. Sean Payton decided to go for it from the Saints’ own 31. Trevor Siemian ran a QB sneak and picked it up.
Score: Bills 10, Saints 0
9:07 p.m. — The Saints’ defense buttons up after the Gabe Davis gain. Josh Allen was sacked on third-and-3 to force a Bills field goal. Tyler Bass makes the 34-yard attempt to extend the Bills lead to 10-0.
9:05 p.m. — The Bills have quickly moved the ball into the red-zone. On a third-and-short, Gabriel Davis broke away from the Saints defense off of play action. He caught the ball and took it all the way to the 20 for a gain of 26.
9:04 p.m. — Taysom Hill is apparently only available as an “emergency backup option”, per Mike Tirico on the NBC broadcast. He has dealt with a foot injury this season. So, don’t expect to see him much in this game — if at all.
9:02 p.m. — New Orleans is stuffed on fourth down. They tried a hand-off to Tony Jones Jr., but it went nowhere. He was tackled for a two-yard loss, so Buffalo will take over in great field position.
9:01 p.m. — Lil’Jordan Humphrey helped the Saints pick up one first down, but the two incompletions and a 7-yard run set them up with a fourth-and-3. The Saints are lining up to go for it.
8:57 p.m. — The Saints nearly were able to get to the Bills’ punter, but Matt Haack got it away. New Orleans will be in good field position, as they’ll have the ball near their own 40-yard line.
End of first quarter: Bills 7, Saints 0
8:53 p.m. — Buffalo’s drive stalls out after the first down. Josh Allen is sacked by Carl Granderson on third-and-long. Granderson slipped while being blocked and rolled into Allen to bring him down. It looked awkward, but Allen was OK. The Bills will punt back to the Saints once the second quarter begins.
8:51 p.m. — The Bills continue to move the ball well. They use two runs by Matt Breida and a scramble by Josh Allen to gain a first down. They are approaching midfield as the first quarter winds down.
8:48 p.m. — Unrelated to the game but still important: Drew Brees apparently executed the “Cris Collinsworth slide” into frame at the beginning of the broadcast. Collinsworth was impressed with what he saw.
8:46 p.m. — On third-and-2, Trevor Siemian is sacked by Mario Addison. The Saints loss nine yards and will punt it on fourth-and-11. The Bills will get the ball back on their 27-yard line.
8:45 p.m. — It looks like Ty Montgomery is going to be the No. 2 back and primary complement to Tony Jones Jr. He caught a screen pass out of the backfield and turned it into a 3-yard gain. It’s third-and-2 for the Saints now.
8:43 p.m. — The Saints have the ball back and they picked up their first, first-down of the game. Trevor Siemian dumped the ball off to Ty Montgomery out of the backfield. He went about eight yards on the play.
8:40 p.m. — Buffalo ran the ball seven times on its opening drive and passing it just three times. They generated 35 rushing yards and 30 passing yards and looked like a balanced offensive attack. That’s what Sean McDermott and the Bills are looking for tonight.
Score: Bills 7, Saints 0
8:38 p.m. — The Bills get on the board first. Josh Allen finds Dawson Knox on a second-and-goal from the 7-yard line. Knox catches the short pass and dives into the end zone through a tackle to get his first score. That makes it 7-0, Bills.
8:36 p.m. — Josh Allen helps the Bills convert a third-and-3 on a designed run. He waits for the blocks to develop before coming downhill and picking up the first. First-and-goal for the Bills.
8:34 p.m. — The Bills are moving the ball with ease on the Saints’ defense. They have picked up three first downs so far and are getting a solid effort out of Matt Breida. He has three carries for 20 yards at this early stage in the game.
8:32 p.m. — The first play for the Bills is a first down. Josh Allen finds Stefon Diggs, who put a nice move on the Saints’ defense to get a first down.
8:30 p.m. — The Saints go three and out. They start with two short runs — one for Tony Jones Jr. and one for Ty Montgomery — before Trevor Siemian completed a pass to Tre’Quan Smith short of the first-down sticks. The Bills field the punt and return it to their own 30-yard line.
8:29 p.m. — Fun fact: No home team has won on Thanksgiving since 2018. The last home team to win? The New Orleans Saints.
8:28 p.m. — The Raiders just beat the Cowboys 36-33 with a walk-off field goal. The Bills are now about to kick it off to the Saints, as this is the only game currently airing during this Thanksgiving tripleheader.
8:19 p.m. — The Bills have at least one notable sports figure on their side for this game. Phil Mickelson sent his best to Josh Allen and the Bills ahead of the game.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Hoping it’s been a great day. Looking forward to my man Josh Allen (and the Bills) to take it to the Saints. Should be a beat down. See you tomorrow live from The Match
— Phil Mickelson (@PhilMickelson) November 26, 2021
Allen dressed up as Mickelson for Halloween, so the love between the two is mutual.
8:15 p.m. — Five minutes to go. The Bills are favored by seven points in this one, per FanDuel Sportsbook. They opened as four-point favoritets.
8:11 p.m. — Demario Davis is getting the Saints amped up for this one with an intense pregame speech.
8:05 p.m. — There’s 15 minutes until game time. The Cowboys-Raiders game is still ongoing, but that won’t delay the start of this game.
8:03 p.m. — Jordan Poyer and the Bills are getting amped up for this one. The Saints are a perfect 3-0 on Thanksgiving, so they’ll need to bring their A-game to win in the Superdome.
7:54 p.m. — Cris Collinsworth has Thanksgiving off, so Drew Brees will be in action on the call. The Saints used that opportunity to honor their legendary, Super Bowl-winning quarterback with a Twitter post.
7:50 p.m. — Bills tight end Dawson Knox played catch with some fans before the game began. Pretty cool.
7:39 p.m. — The Bills are also utilizing a different running back rotation in Week 12. Zack Moss is inactive and will be a healthy scratch for the game. That means Devin Singletary and Matt Breida will lead the Buffalo backfield. Sean McDermott complimented Breida earlier in the week, so he may end up being the backfield leader.
7:35 p.m. — The Saints are going to be shorthanded at running back. Both Alvin Kamara (knee) and Mark Ingram (knee) are out for the game. Tony Jones Jr. will lead the New Orleans backfield. For a full look at the team’s running back depth chart, click here.
Bills vs. Saints start time
- Date: Thursday, Nov. 25
- Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
The Bills vs. Saints time is set to begin at 8:20 p.m. ET on Thanksgiving. That’s the same time that all of the NFL’s Thursday night games will begin in 2021.
How to watch Bills vs. Saints on Thanksgiving
- TV channel: NBC
- Live stream: Peacock, fuboTV
NBC will broadcast the Bills vs. Saints game on Thanksgiving. While the game is taking place on Thursday night, it is not a “Thursday Night Football” game. That property is owned by Fox, so technically, this will be a “Sunday Night Football” game.
The NBC broadcast will look a bit different on Thanksgiving than normal as well. Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth will have the day off, so Mike Tirico and Drew Brees are expected to be on the call. Kathryn Tappen could appear on the sidelines in place of Michele Tafoya as well.
Streamers will be able to watch this contest by using fuboTV, which offers a 7-day free trial.
Meanwhile, viewers in Canada can watch the game on DAZN free with a 30-day trial.
Thanksgiving football schedule 2021
Here’s a look at the full NFL schedule for Thanksgiving 2021. As always, the Lions will play in the early game while the Cowboys will play in the afternoon game.