The Buffalo Bills have four prime-time games on their schedule this season with the opportunity for a fifth with the Broncos game slated as TBA. This is not a dream folks; this is real life.
The biggest surprise is the fact that most of these games occur late in the season. You’d think the NFL would have scheduled them early to piggyback off of the Bills addition of Stefon Diggs, their playoff appearance, and their off-season hype. That is not the case. The NFL is showing the Buffalo Bills a tremendous amount of respect. Only the Pittsburgh Steelers home Sunday Night game can be taken away via flexible scheduling. It is now up to the Bills to do something with this respect. This is the year to change are long running national perception of “not ready for prime-time”.
The Bills were quick to market their four prime-time appearances Thursday Night. Going so far as to change their Twitter name to “Primetime Bills”. Is it too soon for the Buffalo Bills to be bragging about their national exposure, or is it all in good fun? My fellow contributors at Buffalo Fanatics have a take, and I tend to agree with them. I have embedded their exchange below.
Fanatic Bill Tooke was quick to react with some great analysis from the other end of the spectrum. His response is embedded below.
Hop onto Twitter and join this awesome exchange of ideas!
This is an absolutely brutal schedule from a mileage and opponent standpoint. The Bills will have to play both Super Bowl teams from last season and make four trips across the country. Unlike previous seasons, not all of their games are in the “usual” Sunday at 1 pm slot. Games are on various days and at various times throughout the schedule. I, for one, am personally glad to have a Head Coach like sean McDermott to maneuver the team through these logistics.
The toughest patch of the schedule appears to be a west coast swing to Las Vegas in week four, followed by another road game the following week in Nashville, followed by only three days rest before facing off against one of the best teams in football the Kansas City Chiefs at home in prime-time on Thursday Night Football. If you are looking at this realistically, this is a recipe for the Bills to be embarrassed at home in front of the entire country. You’d hope the culture and leadership can come through for you, but that much travel and game action in a two in a half week span would take its toll on any team.
Did the NFL do the Bills a favor by spreading out their west coast games? Time will tell. In years past, the NFL has grouped west coast games to allow teams to extend their trips and find a local high school or college to accommodate their stay and practice.
The Bills have one of the toughest schedules in the NFL. Lucky for us, the rest of the AFC East is in the same boat. So what is our path to winning the division and/or getting into the post-season? In my opinion, the recipe remains the same as last season. Get off to a hot start, and do your job in the division.
The Bills have ten games before the Bye Week. This slate includes four divisional games, three conference games, and thee non-conference games. A realistic goal for this first half slate of games is 6-4 (3-1). That sets them up to only have to win 3/4 of their last 6 games to clinch a playoff birth. In all honesty nine wins this season probably gets you the division, and would be a more impressive feat then winning ten a season ago. This schedule truly is that much harder.
The NFL did the Buffalo Bills a massive favor giving them two division games to start the season. In this unprecedented off-season where there will be limited time to prepare, the Buffalo Bills are at a distinct advantage. The Jets and Dolphins have made massive changes to their roster. It will take these players time to gel and get acclimated to new systems, time they may not have. Meanwhile, Buffalo returns most of their starters, and almost all of their new acquisitions are veterans with experience in the coaching staff’s schemes. The Bills MUST take advantage and start the season 2-0.
It’s party time people! If fans are allowed in the stands, the Bills have games this season in Arizona, Las Vegas, and Nashville. Let’s do Bills Mafia proud on the road this season! Fanatics contributors will be at almost every game this season. Join us!
My podcast, The Bills Guys, drops every Monday morning on The Buffalo Fanatics Podcasting Network. My YouTube Live show, Judge & Reed, airs every Monday night at 9 pm eastern on the Buffalo Fanatics YouTube channel!