After four games at home and four games on the road, the Bills will enter the 3rd quarter of the season back in the friendly confines of Ralph Wilson Stadium. The Bills will have to take advantage of another stretch of home games, two at home and one in neutral Toronto. If the Bills can stay at .500 or better during the first half of the season, the energy level of #BillsMafia may be at a decade long high, as the Bills take a shot at their first winning record since 2004.
The Bills begin November at home against Kansas City. The Chiefs come will come into Ralph Wilson Stadium with a new coach (Andy Reid) and a new quarterback (Alex Smith). With Jamaal Charles still in the backfield, the Chiefs may be one of the more improved teams in the AFC. Of course, the Bills would like to hold that title also. The first half of the season may influence this game. If the Ralph is sold out, full of excited Bills fans, this game could be a perfect opportunity for the Bills to move up in the standings. However, if the thrill is gone, the Bills may have their hands full with the Chiefs.
Week 10 will take the Bills a few hours south down I-79. New Buffalo GM Doug Whaley will return to the Steel City with his revamped offense to take on the Steelers. Pittsburg is coming off a disappointing year for their standards, but is always a team contending for the playoffs. A trip to Heinz Field may be very difficult for a young Bills team. Playing in Pittsburg is never easy, with a loud crowd, and an attacking Steelers defense. The Bills will need to show discipline on both sides of the ball, and stay true to their game plan.
Week 11 has the Bills returning home to face the New York Jets for the second time this season. This may be a very critical game for the Bills, especially if they are still in the AFC playoff hunt. A divisional game is always important, especially games against teams you should beat. While this Jets game will not be as exciting as one back in 1988, it may still be a huge stepping stone for the Bills season. A win may push the Bills further into playoff contention. A loss would most likely kill any hope fans have of the Bills playing into January.
The bye week comes in week 12 for the Bills, and it may come at a perfect time. It will allow the team to get a much needed break before the December stretch of the season, and will also allow the team to enjoy Thanksgiving with their families. Hopefully, any and all injuries can be healed up, and the team will have a full squad moving into December.
After the bye, the Bills take the 2 hour bus ride to Toronto. Toronto week is hated by most fans, and even by some of the active players. While technically a home game, the Bills lose that home field advantage found at the Ralph. This year, Toronto week is made that much worse by the Atlanta Falcons coming to Canada. A dome team in Atlanta, the Falcons will feel right at home at the Rodgers Center. The Bills will need to utilize their speed against this very difficult Atlanta club, who was a favorite for the Super Bowl a year ago. A home game at the Ralph, in December, would have made this game much more competitive. Unfortunately, this game may give those who are against this Toronto series even more ammunition.
The last few years have seen the Bills fall out of contention in November. This year may be no exception, but the schedule may be in the Bills favor. Hopefully, with a few fall wins, the Bills are still competing for the playoffs, and giving all Bills fans excitement going into the final four weeks of the season.