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Breaking Down the Bills Schedule

The Buffalo Bills will enter the 2010 season with a new general manager (Buddy Nix), a new head coach (Chan Gailey), and a new hope.  They’ll also enter the 2010 season lugging around a 10-year playoff drought and based on the early indications from the Bills’ 2010 schedule, making the playoffs could prove to be a grueling task for Buffalo.

My intial reaction to the schedule is ouch!  It shouldn’t take long for the Bills to find out what kind of team they have after the first quarter of the season, however it’s not entirely out of the question that the Bills could be winless in their first four weeks. 

The season begins at home against Miami on Sept. 12, as the Bills and Dolphins renew their not-so-friendly acquaintances.  In last season’s meeting in Buffalo, the Bills trailed 14 – 7 going into the fourth quarter and rallied with 24 straight points to beat Miami 31-14.  Miami will be seeking revenge, while breaking in some new toys, linebacker Karlos Dansby and wide receiver Brandon Marshall.

The Bills are certainly going to get an opening day test from Miami, and it only gets tougher.  After Miami, the Bills travel to Green Bay and New England and return home on Oct. 3 to square off against the New York Jets.  In the first four games, the Bills will play 3 playoff teams from last season.

Let’s break down some other tidbits regarding the schedule:

*The Bills have eight playoff teams from a year ago on the schedule: New England and the New York Jets each twice, Green Bay, Minnesota, Cincinnati and Baltimore.

*Buffalo returns to Toronto on Nov.7 against the Chicago Bears.  This will be the third time the Bills will be playing in Toronto; they have dropped their previous two Toronto contests to AFC East rivals Miami and New York.  Chicago is the first team the Bills will play in Toronto outside their division.

*All 16 games are scheduled to have a 1 p.m. start time, though that could change when the NFL begins their flex scheduling from Week 11 to Week 17

*If their schedule holds form without any changes, the Bills will not have a prime time game for the time since the 2006 season.

* Killer 3-game stretch – Nov.21 at Cincinnati, Nov.28 vs.Pittsburgh, Dec. 5 at Minnesota.  Those three teams were a combined 31-17 in 2009.

*The Bills’ road schedule is rough.  Aside from their annual visits to New York, Miami and New England, the Bills travel to Baltimore, Green Bay, Minnesota, Cincinnati and Kansas City.

*Of the Bills’ eight playoff teams they have on the schedule in 2010, six of them will be on the road.

*After seeing their AFC East foes in the first four weeks of the season, the Bills won’t face their division rivals until the final three weeks of the season.  To close the season, the Bills visit Miami on Dec. 19, host New England in their home finale on Dec. 26, and travel to the new Meadowlands Stadium against the Jets on Jan. 2 in the season finale.

*Three’s are wild in 2010: for the third consecutive season, the Bills will host the Cleveland Browns and travel to Kansas City to meet the Chiefs.

*Buffalo will play Jacksonville for the fifth straight time in 2010.  The two teams will meet on Oct. 10 at The Ralph, marking the eight meeting between the Bills and Jaguars since 2001.

*If the Bills are going to get offensive, they’ll have to do it against some of the league’s best defenses.  The Bills will play the NFL’s top six defenses from a year ago: N.Y Jets, Green Bay, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Minnesota.

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