This year’s Buffalo Bills schedule is highlighted by the team’s week 8 battle with the Patriots, but there are plenty of other interesting tidbits in this year’s slate of games. According to Pro Football Reference, for the first time in team history the Bills will begin the season playing five of their first seven games on the road. Similar to last season, the Bills will have three home games in December, which won’t make the season ticket holders happy, but could prove consequential for a team that could be battling for one of the last playoff spots in the AFC. Here’s a game-by-game breakdown of Buffalo’s 16 games:
Week 1: at Baltimore (1:00) The Bills also opened up their season against the Ravens in 2016. Baltimore won that game 13-7, and four days later Buffalo fired offensive coordinator Greg Roman at the start of one of the wildest seasons in franchise history. Baltimore will certainly have some extra motivation going against the Bills in their season opener, as Buffalo stole the final playoff spot from the Ravens in the final moments of last season. Baltimore made plenty of changes on offense this offseason (including signing Michael Crabtree) in hopes of sparking what has been a pretty anemic unit over the past three seasons. The Ravens ‘D’ is always a tough unit to go against, so week 1 will be a challenge for all of the new parts on Buffalo’s offense.
Week 2: vs. Los Angeles Chargers (1:00) First home game for Buffalo’s new quarterback comes against the Chargers, which could provide some obviously interesting storylines after Nathan Peterman’s disastrous start in LA last season. If the Bills can take the first two games against the Ravens and the Chargers to begin the season, they’ll only have to win eight the rest of the way (with seven of those at home) to go 10-6. That’s usually the record needed for a playoff team in the AFC, so week 2 against the Chargers appears to be a winnable game for the Bills before the schedule starts to get tough in the next few weeks.
— Cover 1 (@Cover_1_) November 22, 2017
Week 3: at Minnesota (1:00)- The Bills vs. Kirk Cousins. The Bills vs. the league’s best defense. Aside from the two games against the Patriots, Buffalo’s toughest task of the season comes week 3 against the Vikes. Minnesota had a tremendous year in 2017 with Case Keenum at QB, but with an upgrade at that position, the Vikings are a virtual lock in the NFC North. There’s also a very real possibility that the Bills will be starting a rookie quarterback in this game, which could get ugly.
Week 4: at Green Bay (1:00) The last time these two teams met was in week 15 of the 2014 season at New Era Field. The Packers entered that game 10-3, but lost to the Kyle Orton-led Bills as the team hung on for a 21-13 win. This go-around will most likely be an even tougher matchup for Buffalo. Aaron Rodgers missed more than half of last season with an injury, and he will be playing hungry this early in the season as he bounces back from that and fights for a new contract. For a visiting team to win a game at Lambeau Field, virtually everything has to go right. For back-to-back games, one of the league’s best secondaries from last year will be tested against two very talented quarterbacks.
Week 5: vs. Tennessee (1:00) The Bills should win this game. The Titans will be a nice break for the team after back-to-back really tough road games. Tennessee snuck into the playoffs last year and ended up winning a game, but with first-year head coach Mike Vrabel and Marcus Mariota seemingly getting worse with each passing game, this should be a down year in Nashville. Week 5 could also mark the last decent weather game played at New Era Field. Five of the team’s first seven games are away, and the Bills don’t come back to Orchard Park after this game until MNF on October 29th against the Pats.
Week 6: at Houston (1:00) A fully healthy Houston Texans team is very good. The biggest key for the team is staying healthy. If the Texans have J.J. Watt, DeShaun Watson, and DeAndre Hopkins all playing at their capable high levels for this game, it will be tough for the Bills to steal one on the road. This game will also mark another crucial test for Buffalo’s revamped offensive line against the likes of Watt, Clowney, and Mercilus.
Week 7: at Indianapolis (1:00) Another road game. The schedule-makers certainly didn’t do the Bills many favors with the first half of the 2018 season. Week 7 features a matchup against an unpredictable Colts team. One certainty, however, is that with this game being in a dome, neither team will have to worry about the disastrous weather conditions that plagued last year’s contest between the two teams. Andrew Luck is one of the league’s best quarterbacks, and everyone around the NFL knows what he’s capable of. With that being said, Luck has dealt with some pretty serious injuries to his throwing shoulder and to date has yet to begin throwing the football. Also, with the Colts holding the sixth pick in this year’s draft (as of now), this game could feature a matchup of two high-profile rookies.
Week 8: vs. New England (8:15, Monday Night Football) The game Bills fans have been waiting years for. The return of Monday Night Football to New Era Field. It’s the first time since 2008 against the Cleveland Browns that the Bills have hosted a MNF game, and only the fifth time since 2000 that they’ve appeared in one. The fans will certainly be geared up for this one, and the Bills will need to reverse their historically bad MNF record against the Pats. The Bills have lost their last five games on Monday night dating back to December of 2000. Tom Brady and company coming to Buffalo for a prime time game will be an incredible atmosphere.
Week 9: vs. Chicago (1:00) It’s a short week after the New England game, but luckily for the Bills, they are back at New Era Field six days later to face the Bears. Although the team has struggled mightily in recent years, by week 9 it’s probably a safe bet that Chicago will have its offense figured out under quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and offensive guru Matt Nagy. However, this is a game that the Bills simply have to have if they want to contend for a playoff spot in 2018. Buffalo beat the Bears 23-20 in overtime in the team’s last matchup four years ago, and this could also be a game that comesdown to the final whistle — or later.
Week 10: at New York Jets (1:00) It’s pretty interesting that this week 10 matchup against the Jets is only the team’s second divisional game of the season. The Bills and Jets have gone back-and-forth in games over the last couple of years, so it’s pretty tough to predict how exactly the matchup against New York will fare this year, with the Jets yet to make their selection with the third overall pick. If Buffalo can take care of business against New York, two wins in a row against Chicago and the Jets is a very positive way to head into the bye week.
— Cover 1 (@Cover1) February 22, 2018
Week 11: BYE
Week 12: Jacksonville (1:00) Obviously, this game has plenty of extra meaning for both teams. Just like the Wild Card game in January, I’d expect a low-scoring slugfest between the two sides. The X-factor this time around will be if Buffalo’s new quarterback can move the ball against a stellar Jacksonville defense. The Bills will also begin to get comfortable at New Era Field, as this game is the first of four home games over the last six weeks to close out the season.
Week 13: at Miami (1:00) The Bills swept the Fins in their season series last year and, similar to last season, don’t get their first crack at Miami until late in the year. A trip down to Florida in December is a nice break for the team before three home games and a trip to New England, so this could be the last time the Bills play in fair weather for the remainder of the season. Buffalo has done well in its games in Miami, winning there three of the past four seasons.
Week 14: vs. New York Jets (1:00) This game continues what is a pretty run-of-the-mill close to the regular season against plenty of divisional opponents. Like the week 10 matchup, this is a winnable game for the Bills as long as they play good football on both sides of the ball against a rebuilding club. It’s tough to make concrete predictions this far out, but a clean sweep of the Jets in 2018 is a reasonable goal for the Bills.
Week 15: vs. Detroit (1:00) Another home game and another matchup for the Bills against a first-year head coach. Detroit has been one of those NFL teams that has been stuck in the mud over the past four or five seasons and seemingly can’t make that next step, despite having a talented roster. This game could very easily have playoff implications for the Lions, and is another contest where weather could play a big role in deciding the final score.
Week 16: at New England (1:00) Seems like every season the Bills have a matchup in Foxboro in Week 13 or later, and this year is no exception. It should also be noted that the Pats are playing the Steelers in Week 15, so this game could be a bit of a letdown for them. As well as the Bills played in the first half of their game at New England last December, they played equally poorly in the second half. Bills-Pats are always meaningful games, no matter the implications, but they have revved up in recent years with Buffalo being more competitive. This could also be Buffalo’s best bet for a flex game if both teams are again in the playoff hunt.
Week 17: vs. Miami (1:00)- For the second straight season, the Bills will be closing the regular season with the Dolphins. This year, it’s in Buffalo. While it’s hard to imagine anything can live up to the drama that last year’s matchup between the two teams had, late-season games between these two sides will forever be entertaining and competitive. Or, this could be a meaningless game between two teams out of the playoff hunt. The beauty of the schedule coming out in April is that it’s truly anyone’s guess what the biggest games for each team will be.
— Cover 1 (@Cover1) January 1, 2018