The Buffalo Bills have nine road games in 2022, and not all of them are created equal. With stops in Chicago and Detroit every eight years, Los Angeles on the schedule for the first time in a while, and a road trip to Cincinnati available, which away game is the best one to book right now?
Several cities are high on my list of places to visit, but the schedule-makers didn’t make one particularly great-weather game for us to attend and several of the other games have conflicts. It’s hot in Miami and LA in September, Detroit and Chicago are on holidays, Cincinnati is a Monday night in January.
So, here’s my list in order from best away game trip to worst:
Baltimore, Week 4
If you like seafood and history, Baltimore is a great road trip. It’s drivable from Western New York or a one-hour flight down via Southwest.
(It shouldn’t be that long, but there are no direct flights currently available, which may knock it down the list for some.) The early October date means there will be great temps. Visit Fort McHenry where the true events that inspired the “Star-Spangled Banner” took place or go out into the harbor where Francis Scott Key was on a ship watching the battle unfold. The Sunday 1:00 PM Eastern kickoff means you can make it home for work on Monday if you need to. This would have been third or fourth on the list over the last couple seasons, but the rest of these road trips aren’t exactly screaming for attention.
Kansas City, Week 6
We’ve had the opportunity to go to Kansas City several times over the last few years, which I think bumps it down a little. (If you really wanted to go to KC, you’ve already been.) The Sunday night game in 2021 had a day off work for a lot of folks plus the primetime atmosphere. This game doesn’t have the same day off, but it’s a 4:25 PM Eastern game, and the atmosphere should still be pretty great. The food is amazing, the game is going to be electric, and the tailgating scene is excellent—plus the mid-October date makes it more likely the game-day weather will be outstanding.
Los Angeles Rams, Week 1
Watching the NFL Champions raise their Super Bowl banner is going to be cool. Los Angeles in early September may not be as literally cool, but if you’ve never been to LA like me, there are lots of things to do. Fly in on Wednesday, focus on the game Thursday, then take the whole weekend to tourist it up. It’s the kids’ first week of school in New York, which could make it a lot harder to manage for parents.
Detroit, Week 12
We don’t get the Motor City on the schedule often, so it bumps up the list for me. I am a big Thanksgiving guy, so giving up my favorite holiday of the year is tough, though. Detroit is a city with a great craft beer scene, if you’re into that. If you want to make it a weekend, go visit Notre Dame (the football team is at USC that weekend, unfortunately) or catch the Michigan/Ohio State game in Columbus on your drive home.
Miami Dolphins, Week 3
I am not a beach guy, but I respect those of you who are. Normally we like seeing this game in December, since it means a chance to get out of the Buffalo cold and into the warm weather of South Beach for a few days. Miami has more to offer than the beach, too. Hopefully the Miami Heat are in town to add to your sports weekend. It’s not in December, but it’s not a bad trip. With a 1:00 PM Eastern kickoff, you could be home Sunday night.
Chicago Bears, Week 16
This was the game I had circled as the best potential road trip of the year. Chicago is a great American city and a place many folks haven’t gone for a visit. There are other sports teams in town for a baseball, basketball, or hockey game and multiple food options to enjoy and touristy things to do all weekend. Even if it’s a winter game, that’s ok because we can deal with cold weather. Sounds perfect. Then they put it on Christmas Eve. Traveling that weekend is going to be terrible between the potential weather pitfalls, the sheer numbers of people, and the limited options because of holiday-related closings. It’s just super disappointing because the Bears in Chicago is only on the schedule once every eight years. With rumors of a new stadium, this may be the last chance to see a Bills game at Solider Field.
New York Jets, Week 9
I love New York City and don’t get down there enough. November in NYC is a great time of year to visit and there are a million things to do. The game might not be that much fun to watch, honestly, but if you’re talking about a road trip from which you’re likely to head home happy, this would make a lot of sense. With a 1:00 PM Eastern kickoff and a 1-hour flight home, the commute wouldn’t be cumbersome.
Cincinnati Bengals, Week 17
This could be an important game in the AFC playoff race, but so many things make it attractive for Cincy fans and not attractive for the Bills. It’s a Monday night, so you have to burn two days of work to get there. It’s gonna be cold in January. You can leave on Saturday and do four days, I suppose, but unless you’re stopping in other cities on the way, I’m not sure how Cincy can hold up for four days of tourist stuff. Plus part of the drive from WNY is through the lake-effect bands coming off Lake Erie. I would have liked this game a lot more in October.
New England Patriots, Week 13
I just really dislike the location of this stadium. You’d think “Oh, we can hit up the great city of Boston” but the stadium is 35 minutes or more from downtown. It’s in December again, though this time it isn’t the week before Christmas like the last three years. It’s a Thursday night so you’d have to miss two days of work (for most folks) the week after Thanksgiving, where you probably were also off work already. (If your hotel is in Boston, it’s a real late night, too, since it’s a night game.) If it was in September, you could hit Rhode Island or Cape Cod if you’ve been to Boston enough times, but in December?
The Super Bowl in Glendale, Arizona, on February 12 would be a great chance to get out of the Western New York cold and snow and into the dry heat. Help us out, guys.