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Opinion: Six takeaways from the 2021 Buffalo Bills schedule

The full 17-game Buffalo Bills schedule is out, and there are some elite kickoffs on the docket. Here are the major storylines we say when we looked.

Five featured games

The Bills will be featured in four games in prime time and one more nationally televised game. The crown jewel is the Thanksgiving night showdown against the New Orleans Saints, but Buffalo also plays AFC foes the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night, October 10th, and Tennessee Titans on Monday night, October 18th. The Bills will only host one night game when they welcome the New England Patriots on Monday night, December 6th. They are playing the nationally televised game in Week 14 against the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, scheduled to kick off at 4:25 PM.

Extra bye week

Because of those featured games, the Bills will have an extra bye week of sorts. They have eleven days off between their Thursday night game on November 25th and Monday night on December 6th. Perfect for a team with a Week 7 actual bye.

Three-of-four games at home

Buffalo plays three of their first four games at home AND three of their last four games at home. Off to a good start and a getting a good finish. Those late fall games in Western New York are so much fun.

One home game in six weeks

Of course with those bookends, there is a stretch with only one home game in six weeks during the year. One of those five other weeks is their bye, so they have four away games over the course of six weeks.

AFC playoff stretch in October

Buffalo will need to be on their game early in the season, as they play a slew of potential playoff teams in October. The Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, and Tennessee Titans are in consecutive weeks, then after their bye it is the Miami Dolphins on Halloween.

Christmas in New England

The header sounds like something out of a Bing Crosby movie, but it’s been the Bills’ reality for the last five years; December 26th this year, December 28th in 2020, December 21st in 2019, December 23rd in 2018, and December 24th in 2017. At least they aren’t playing on Christmas Day this year.

Buffalo Bills’ 2021 Schedule

Week Date Time Opponent Notes
Week Date Time Opponent Notes
Pre-1 8/8 TBD @ Detroit Lions First preseason game since 2019 due to COVID concerns
Pre-2 8/21 TBD @ Chicago Bears Will the second preseaon game become the "dress rehearsal"?
Pre-3 8/29 TBD GREEN BAY PACKERS First year with only three preseason games
1 Sep 12 1:00 PM PITTSBURGH STEELERS Bills beat Pittsburgh on Sunday night last December
2 Sep 19 1:00 PM @ Miami Dolphins Have the Dolphins taken the next step?
3 Sep 26 1:00 PM WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ron Rivera faces several former colleagues
4 Oct 3 1:00 PM HOUSTON TEXANS David Culley returns to Buffalo, but who is his QB?
5 Oct 10 8:15 PM @ Kansas City Chiefs Buffalo lost to the Chiefs twice in the 2020 NFL season
6 Oct 18* 8:15 PM @ Tennessee Titans The Bills were blown out by the Titans in a 2020 prime-time game
7 Oct 24 BYE BYE BYE
8 Oct 31 1:00 PM MIAMI DOLPHINS Halloween costume party is only home game in six weeks
9 Nov 7 1:00 PM @ Jacksonville Jaguars Welcome to the NFL, Trevor.
10 Nov 14 1:00 PM @ New York Jets The new-look Jets feature a lot of turnover
11 Nov 21 1:00 PM INDIANAPOLIS COLTS Return of Frank Reich, coach of the Colts
12 Nov 25* 8:15 PM @ New Orleans Saints Bills has highest-rated Thanksgiving game in 27 years during 2019 defeat of Cowboys
13 Dec 6* 8:15 PM NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS Hosting the Patriots on Monday Night Football instead of playing in Foxborough
14 Dec 12 4:25 PM @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tom Brady, the boogeyman, via NYUP
15 Dec 18-19* TBD CAROLINA PANTHERS Saturday flex options
16 Dec 26 1:00 PM @ New England Patriots Five years in a row for a Christmas trip to Massachusetts
17 Jan 2 1:00 PM ATLANTA FALCONS Gonna be cold for the Falcons
18 Jan 9 1:00 PM NEW YORK JETS Welcome to Buffalo in January, Zach. Final week game could be flexed to Saturday.
WC TBD TBD The Bills beat the Colts in the Wild Card round in 2020
Div TBD TBD Buffalo beat the Ravens in the Divisional Round in 2020
AFC TBD TBD The Chiefs toppled the Bills in the 2020 AFC Championship Game
SB Feb 13 6:30 PM TBD Latest calendar date in Super Bowl history