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Bills' 2014 schedule sets up as well as they could have hoped to get it


The Buffalo Bills' schedule sets up as well as they could have hoped in their quest to take a significant step forward and have a winning season.

That doesn't mean they're guaranteed to get better. That doesn't mean it's easy or that they're good enough to count any games as guaranteed wins.

However, it means the opportunity is there to have a winning season -- if the Bills' brain trust is right and "they're knocking on the door," as general manager Doug Whaley said last week.

The Bills have two of their first three games and five of their first eight at home. They play only one playoff team from last season (San Diego) in their first five games and two in their first eight (with New England being the other). The games against San Diego and New England both are at home.

With quarterback EJ Manuel beginning his second season, the schedule gives the Bills a chance to build some momentum the first half of the season. If they had all their hardest games early and started out 1-4, for instance, that would be a very bad scenario. It would increase doubts and pressure on Manuel and everyone on the team from outside and inside the locker room.

They have a young offense in its second season together. They should not be out of the hunt at midseason.

The end of the schedule is hard. They play at Denver on Dec. 7, home vs. Green Bay on Dec. 14, a cross-country road trip at Oakland on Dec. 21 and at New England on Dec. 28. Las Vegas oddsmakers would have them going 1-3 or maybe even 0-4 in that stretch. But three of those four games potentially are bad-weather games.

If you have the weaker team, weather is a potential equalizer. The Bills certainly would have a better chance against Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers in Orchard Park in December than in September. Maybe there will be 40-mph winds that day, which will reduce his chances of throwing four touchdown passes. Ditto Denver's Peyton Manning. The Bills are better off playing New England at the end of the year, too.  The Bills and Pats played in a torrential rain storm to end the season last year. If the Bills could have at least contained the run - granted, they didn't - the game would have been close. Tom Brady wasn't passing for a lot of yards that day.

There are no three-game road trips. The have only one short-week game. If the Bills are better in 2014, the breakdown schedule doesn't create any added burdens for them.

  • Guest

    6-10. AGAIN !!!!!

  • Ray Stilwell

    Also only one game where the opponent is coming off a bye week- the Jets, at home.

  • BullGuy

    Please stop with beating old stories like the NFL schedule and the NFL draft to death. If only the news gave this much daily coverage to the Bisons and the Bandits.

    • Jeff

      More people will read a story about what color jock straps the Bills are wearing, than if the Bisons or Bandits won their respective championships. Just the way it is.

      • BullGuy

        It's that way because of the way these stories are constantly regurgitated.

    • Paul Kawalerski

      Actually, this is the first positive story I have read on the Bill's schedule. Where are the other ones you're talking about?

  • Paul Kawalerski

    This should be the year the Bills make the jump from pretenders to contenders. This is the second year for coach Marrone and Hackett. The offense should have the major bugs worked out by now. EJ has 1/2 year under his belt and from what I hear he has been studying his butt off. The defense is loaded this year and coach Schwartz should be able to put an end to these ridiculous runs for big yardage. The major holes have been filled and you still have the draft the sweeten the pie. There should be no excuse this year. If the Bills can hit a homerun in the draft and EJ can make good progress I could see the Bills seriously contending for the AFC East.

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About the reporters

Vic Carucci returned to The Buffalo News as a Bills beat reporter in September. Carucci covered the Bills for 17 years before joining as a columnist in 1999. Prior to rejoining The News, he spent three years as a senior editor for the Cleveland Browns.

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida.