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NFL Schedule Release: Buffalo Bills get five national TV games highlighted by Thanksgiving night

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

The Buffalo Bills will be featured prominently on the national stage in the 2021 NFL season. Buffalo will have a multitude of nationally televised games on strange days and start times, rather than the traditional 1:00 pm Eastern time slot on Sunday.

The highlight of the schedule is a Thanksgiving night showcase against the New Orleans Saints. The Saints, sans Drew Brees, aren’t as big of a draw as the Bills, who drew a humongous rating on Thanksgiving in 2019.

Buffalo will face the Kansas City Chiefs on a Sunday night, Tennessee Titans on Monday night, and New England Patriots on a Monday night in addition to a nationally televised game against the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 4:25 time slot. Buffalo is getting respect.

Traditionalists should be happy, as well, with eleven 1:00 PM start times.

The full schedule is listed below and I’ve laid out my opinions and observations on the schedule in a previous article. We reported the entire Bills schedule including the preseason hours ago, so all that was left was to fill in a few time slots.

Week 1 - Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills, 1:00 PM
Week 2 - Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins, 1:00 PM
Week 3 - Washington Football Team at Buffalo Bills, 1:00 PM
Week 4 - Houston Texans at Buffalo Bills, 1:00 PM
Week 5 - Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday Night Football
Week 6 - Buffalo Bills at Tennessee Titans, Monday Night Football
Week 7 - BYE
Week 8 - Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills, 1:00 PM
Week 9 - Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars, 1:00 PM
Week 10 - Buffalo Bills at New York Jets, 1:00 PM
Week 11 - Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills, 1:00 PM
Week 12 - Buffalo Bills at New Orleans Saints, Thursday Night Football
Week 13 - New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football
Week 14 - Buffalo Bills at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 4:25 PM
Week 15 - Carolina Panthers at Buffalo Bills, TBD
Week 16 - Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots, 1:00 PM
Week 17 - Atlanta Falcons at Buffalo Bills, 1:00 PM
Week 18 - New York Jets at Buffalo Bills, 1:00 PM

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