Well the suspense is over; the Bills will still play sixteen regular season games this year. I know it is a weight off my mind… but seriously, let’s take a closer look at the schedule and see how we feel about it.
Monday Night Football
I know we all wanted a big Monday night game at the Ralph, and I am a little sad that we don’t get one. What I don’t think is that we have any right to be upset about it. There are 23 different teams who get to represent their cities on MNF this year. Of those 23 there are only four that were sub .500 last year, only two of those won 6 games or less like the Bills, and only the Redskins won less games than we did.
I love the Bills as much as anyone and I have super high hopes for this season, especially after the free agency period blew me away. That being said — as the Bills Mafia, we can see this offseason as a huge step towards the playoffs, but to the rest of the league — one good, albeit great, offseason doesn’t erase that for over a decade the Bills have not even earned a wildcard spot. Once we prove it on the field this year, and play a couple games in January, then the schedule makers can give us the Monday night party at The Ralph that we all want. But until then I don’t think that we can’t be mad about the decision that they made.
The Good, the Bad, and my Indifference
To know what I’m talking about here you need a little insight into my thought process. I’m not trying to predict future quality as it can shift drastically from one year to the next, I’m just analyzing based solely on last year’s results.
Good: A lot of the good in our schedule we knew long before Tuesday night. To start, our NFC schedule consists of the NFC West, which is by far the worst division in the NFC in recent years. San Francisco is a strong opponent but the other three should be easily winnable games for the Bills. Of course in a league like the NFL the gap from first to last is way smaller than many think, so there is no such thing as a sure victory, but I would much rather play the NFC West than have to face both Green Bay and Detroit or New Orleans and Atlanta.
More Good: Of our sixteen games only five of them are against opponents who were greater than .500 last year: Patriots (13-3) (2 Games), 49ers (13-3), Texans (10-6), and Titans (9-7). On that same note we also play three of the four worst teams in the league last year: Colts (2-14), Rams (2-14), and Browns (4-12). Our opponents’ combined records from last season is 121-135.
More Good: The schedule is timed well. What does that mean? It means that what look to be our four hardest games are all in the first nine games of the season (Patriots, Patriots, Houston, and 49ers). It also means that four out of our last five games are home games, which includes a three game home stretch from week 13 to week 15. Lastly, it means that our night game is at home so we don’t have to deal with an extraordinarily loud fan base that the away teams have to worry about for a prime time game.
Bad: Three of our four hardest games are away games (49ers, Patriots, and Texans).
More Bad: We have to play the Patriots in New England, right after their bye week. This isn’t as bad as it sounds. Historically teams who play after a bye week only win 51.1% of the time which, as you can see, only gives them a 1.1% statistical edge, but I’ll still put it in the bad category.
My Indifference: Although there is some good and bad to the schedule in all honesty I don’t care about all of that. What I care about — no matter who, where, or when we play, is whether or not the Bills walk out of the stadium with a ‘W’ each week. Don’t get me wrong I love to speculate and say that I think the Bills can go 12-4 this year with losses to New England, SF, New Jersey Jets, and someone like Seattle, but in the end it’s all a guess, and I’m just excited for the season! Let’s Go Buffalo!
Bills Mafia Blog