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.)
Final score: Bills 31, Saints 6
11:17 p.m. — The clock has run out in this one, and the Bills have emerged as the victors, 31-6.
11:13 p.m. — We’ve hit the two-minute warning. The Saints picked up a first down with a pass, but they’re just looking to keep the ball moving.
11:11 p.m. — The Saints are running the ball with Tony Jones Jr. They’re waving the white flag with less than five minutes left in the game.
11:09 p.m. — The Bills run the ball three times and can’t get a first. They take a delay of game penalty and will punt it back to the Saints.
11:07 p.m. — Josh Allen’s night is done. Backup quarterback Mitchell Trubisky is in the game. Here’s why the Bears moved on from Trubisky, the former No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
11:06 p.m. — Right on cue, Siemian and the Saints tried to go deep. Bills safety Jordan Poyer was ready for it and he grabbed an easy interception.
11:05 p.m. — The Bills are up four scores now, so they will probably just make sure they don’t get beaten deep by Trevor Siemian and Co.
Score: Bills 31, Saints 6
10:59 p.m. — Touchdown, Bills. Matt Breida catches a screen pass on third-and-10 and takes it to the house for a 23-yard touchdown. The Bills take a four-possession lead after kicker Tyler Bass splits the uprights with his extra-point attempt.
10:54 p.m. — Or maybe the Bills will keep their foot on the gas. Josh Allen completes a 28-yard pass to Stefon Diggs on first down. The Bills are inside the Saints’ 25-yard line once again.
10:51 p.m. — Well, that was uneventful. The Saints went three-and-out and punted the ball back to the Bills. One minute and 20 seconds came off the clock, so there’s still 10:48 left in the game. The Bills will look to run some clock on their upcoming drive.
10:46 p.m. — The Bills punt the ball back to the Saints. Buffalo downs the ball at the Saints’ 12-yard line. There’s 12:02 left in the game and the Bills have an 18-point lead.
10:45 p.m. — Well, it turns out the Bills aren’t being that aggressive after all. They tried to draw the Saints offsides, but they couldn’t. The Bills have now called a timeout of their own.
10:41 p.m. — The Bills are continuing to play aggressively despite an 18-point lead. They lined up to go for it on fourth-and-inches before Sean Payton and the Saints called a time out.
10:36 p.m. — Strange but true: The Saints have failed on 10 consecutive two-point conversions.
Score: Bills 24, Saints 6
10:34 p.m. — Touchdown, Saints. New Orleans finally gets on the board, finding tight end Nick Vannett in the back of the end zone. The Saints went for two after the play, but Trevor Siemian threw the ball over Lil’Jordan Humphrey’s head. That makes it 24-6, Bills.
End of third quarter: Bills 24, Saints 0
10:32 p.m. — The Saints move backward with a 5-yard penalty before Tony Jones Jr. gains most of it back on first down. That ends the third quarter.
10:31 p.m. — Lil’Jordan Humphrey catches a pass from Siemian and brings it inside the 10-yard line. It’s first-and-goal for the Saints for the first time all day.
10:29 p.m. — New Orleans picks up another first down. Deonte Harris caught a screen and made a man miss to set up a third-and-1. Tony Jones Jr. ran for two yards to convert just the sixth first down of the day for the Saints.
10:26 p.m. — The Saints have one of their first big plays of the game. Trevor Siemian completes a third-down pass to Marquez Callaway for a gain of 17 yards. Ed Oliver hit Siemian after the throw, so 15 yards were added on a roughing the passer penalty. The Saints are now in Bills territory.
10:23 p.m. — Trevor Siemian had a ball slip out of his hand on first down. The referees let the Bills return it for a touchdown before correctly ruling it an incomplete pass.
Score: Bills 24, Saints 0
10:19 p.m. — Touchdown, Bills. Sean McDermott and the Bills decide to go for it on fourth-and-2. Off play-action, Dawson Knox gets loose as his defender falls down. He runs into the end-zone to extend the Bills’ lead once again.
10:17 p.m. — The Bills hit a big gainer to Gabe Davis once again. His catch puts the Bills in field goal range.
10:15 p.m. — We’re just halfway through the third quarter, but things look bleak for the Saints. They still have just 68 yards of offense and four first downs on the day. Unless Trevor Siemian can get in a rhythm, they may be shut out.
10:14 p.m. — New Orleans goes three-and-out again. The Bills’ return man muffed the punt but picked it up and brought it back to midfield.
10:12 p.m. — The Saints had Marquez Callaway for a massive gain down the right sideline, but Trevor Siemian overthrew him. They were nearly bailed out with a defensive holding call, but the flag got picked up. Third-and-8 for Siemian and the Saints.
10:10 p.m. — The Bills’ defense is about to take the field for the first time in the second half. Tre’Davious White, who was considered doubtful to return in the first half, is out for the rest of the game.
10:09 p.m. — Here’s another look at the Stefon Diggs touchdown. The star receiver ran a great route to shake free for the score.
Score: Bills 17, Saints 0
10:08 p.m. — Touchdown, Bills. Allen finds Stefon Diggs in the front left corner of the end-zone for an easy pitch-and-catch touchdown. That gives the Bills a three-score lead at 17-0, and the drive ate up 6:12 of the third quarter.
10:06 p.m. — Devin Singletary blasts through the line for a 15-yard gain. He ran through a tackle hard on the play. That sets up a first-and-goal opportunity for the Bills.
10:05 p.m. — Two more first-downs for the Bills. The first comes via a Devin Singletary 10-yard run. The next comes on a pass interference call on Marshon Lattimore. The Bills are on the 20 and are looking to make this 10-0 game a three-score contest.
10:03 p.m. — Two second-half third-downs, two conversions. Allen finds Cole Beasley for a gain of about 15 yards. The Bills are in Saints territory and are nearing field goal range.
10:01 p.m. — The Bills faced a third-and-7 early in their return to the field, but Josh Allen uses his legs to convert it. He runs for about 10 yards and gives the Bills’ offense its 11th first-down of the game. The Saints have just four.
10:00 p.m. — Michele Tafoya provides updates on the coach’s mindsets coming out of the locker room. Sean McDermott was “frustrated” with Josh Allen’s two interceptions while Sean Payton said the Saints’ couldn’t be worse than they were in the first half.
9:59 p.m. — And we’re underway for the second half. The Bills receive the kickoff and will start on their own 25-yard line after a touchback.
9:54 p.m. — Some halftime festivities for the New Orleans crowd: Drew Brees took the field to speak to the fans, and the fans saluted him for his career. Brees’ final season was played in empty stadiums because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so this served as a farewell send-off for him.
9:47 p.m. — This game probably shouldn’t be as close as it is. The Bills have vastly outgained the Saints in this matchup, but a couple of Josh Allen interceptions is keeping New Orleans in this game. The Bills will need to clean up their turnover issues in the second half if they want to close out the home team.
|Time of possession||17:58||12:02|
End of second quarter: Bills 10, Saints 0
9:44 p.m. — The Saints take a knee to end the half.
9:43 p.m. — The Saints get pressure on Josh Allen and force him into another interception. Cam Jordan and Kwon Alexander combine to make the play. That’s the first red-zone interception of Allen’s career.
9:42 p.m. — Josh Allen completes a touchdown pass to Dawson Knox, but the Bills had several offensive linemen downfield on the play, which was designed to be a screen. That’s a penalty, so the points come off the board.
9:39 p.m. — Emmanuel Sanders made a beautiful third-down catch on the sidelines. He hauled in a pass from Allen and got his knees down on the play. The Bills are inside the 20 now with 27 seconds and two timeouts left in the half.
9:37 p.m. — The Bills easily move the ball to the 35-yard line with their first three plays. There are 55 seconds left in the half and the Bills are already in field goal range.
9:34 p.m. — FAKE! The Saints tried a fake punt, but punter Blake Gillikin sailed the ball over his receiver’s head. The Bills will now take over at midfield.
9:33 p.m. — The Saints complete a screen pass to fullback Adam Prentice to gain 10 yards, but it is fourth-and-10. The Saints will punt.
9:32 p.m. — Bad news for the Bills: The team’s top cornerback, Tre’Davious White, is doubtful to return to the game with a left knee injury. He went to LSU and grew up in Shreveport, La.
-Tre’Davious White is doubtful to return (knee).
-Cody Ford is questionable to return (arm).
— Buffalo Bills PR (@BuffaloBillsPR) November 26, 2021
9:30 p.m. — The Saints go backward on their first two plays. Tony Jones Jr. runs for no gain and Trevor Siemian is sacked again. It will be third-and-18 after the two-minute warning.
9:26 p.m. — Bradley Roby comes up with a big defensive play. He intercepts a Josh Allen pass intended for Stefon Diggs. The Saints will get the ball near midfield with a chance to get on the board before halftime.
9:23 p.m. — The Bills were backed up by an obvious holding penalty, but Cole Beasley and Emmanuel Sanders had a couple of key catches to turn a second-and-18 situation into a first-and-10. There is 4:10 left in the second half, and the Bills are still up 10. They get the ball after the half, so if they can extend this drive and score, they will be positioned well in this one.
9:19 p.m. — The Saints can’t capitalize with White off the field. Trevor Siemian was under heavy pressure from Ed Oliver on the play and threw the ball while he was hit. It fluttered to the ground five yards beyond the line of scrimmage. New Orleans punts the ball back to Buffalo. The Bills have it on their own 26.
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. — Touchdown, Bills. 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.