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Early 2020 Schedule Tidbits & Thoughts

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Hi Everyone,

 

Usually I do this once the SB is over, but there actually is stuff to report!

 

For a quick recap if you haven't been paying attention this is the Bills home and away opponents for 2020-21:

 

Home: NE, NYJ, MIA, KC, LAC, LAR, SEA, PIT

Away: NE, NYJ, MIA, DEN, VEGAS, ARZ, SF, TEN

 

Now for the fun tidbits:

 

-Much has been made about the Bills getting multiple primetime games, primetime games at home, etc.. Generally teams that make the playoffs get an average of 2 primetime games the following season many times 3. The Bills in 2018 are the major outlier as they received just the NE MNF game as the NFL basically said prove it that you weren't a fluke in 2017. Obviously this season was much different as Buffalo did prove to be a team of substance and they did end up being rewarded with 3 prime time type games (DAL Thanksgiving, PIT SNF, NE Saturday 4:30 game). Every playoff team from 2018 got a minimum of 3 prime time games in 2019 (prime time qualifying as SNF, MNF, or TNF). Buffalo did well ratings wise with all of the games they were on this year which helps to dispel the notion they do not draw on TV. Please do keep in mind that all 3 games were against major NFL draws (DAL, NE, PIT) so I can almost guarantee that the primetime games they receive in 2020 will be opponents who bring that (aka TEN BUF or VEG BUF probably is not going primetime haha).

 

-With the Bills playing both the AFC West AND NFC West they will be flying a ton this year and 4:00 pm games will be coming strong (sorry 1:00pm is best crowd). The last time against the NFC West the Bills faced the Seahawks on MNF cutting out one of the two 4:00 pm starts. With a projected four games starting at 4:00 pm (SF, ARZ, VEG, DEN) I have a strong feeling they will probably move one of those games to a night game as a way to reduce having the Bills in the 4:00 pm slot that many times.  In regards to the home matchups the LAC and KC both have played at 1:00 pm many of times when they come to Buffalo so I would be surprised to see them be later given the amount of 4:00 pm games Buffalo already has. LAR and SEA both have played the late game anytime they have come here with the SEA playing up in the infamous Toronto disaster game in 2011 (yay beach boys and rob ford). I would not be surprised to see one of those two teams as the Bills home primetime game as a way again to limit Buffalo having a mammoth amount of 4:00 pm games and the draw power of both teams. At the same time both of Seattle’s AFC games were at 1:00 pm last year and one of the Rams was at 1:00 pm.

 

-With all of that as a backdrop I know many people are saying the Bills and Chiefs are a top night matchup, but realistically the NFL and networks will probably prioritize KC for other top night games especially if they win the SB. The Bills prefer 1:00 pm home games as is and KC is a team they can keep in that slot. Realistically the best chance for the Bills to keep as many games as possible at the 1:00 pm slot is putting the Bills at night against LAR or SEA who give the NFL the draw power they'd want for a SNF or MNF game. The only AFC I really could see being PIT as a rematch night game and has been mentioned that it would be a good game for fans given last years playoff implicating matchup.

 

-It is not unheard of at all that a team plays multiple prime time games at night against their NFC conference opponent or vise versa. Last year the Browns hosted the LAR SNF and went to SF the week after for MNF.

 

-It was recently reported that the NFL really liked the Saturday Xmas schedule they did this last year and they are strongly considering doing the same in 2020. The Bills drew well in that game TV wise so very possible they are in the rotation again.

 

-In the last decade the Bills have hosted home night games in 2012 MIA, 2016 NYJ, and 2018 NE. As I said earlier the Bills are quite sensitive to keeping games at 1:00 pm for their season ticket base and I would expect that they prefer at this point just a single home night game mixed with hopefully only one 4:00 pm game if they can help it leaving the other six homes games as 1:00 pm starts. With the added attention Buffalo has received, the teams upswing, and the possible retirement/leaving of Brady in NE though Buffalo may be subject to more games at 4:00 pm which is typically the game of the week or at night.

 

-Yes there are rumors MIA and Buffalo are playing in London but there is also rumor that Arizona may be hosting a game overseas also. It is absolutely plausible the NFL puts the Bills and Cards as a London game to reduce travel for the Bills from having four west coast trips AND a London game. But the Panthers did that exact schedule and the NFL always will pick money over sanity.

 

-Buffalo has not played overseas since 2015 so it would not be a major surprise if they went there as it has been a few years.

 

-For the record if I had to predict right now what Buffalo’s primetime schedule would be I would say MNF at home vs LAR, SNF at SF, and TNF at NYJ. The Bills have played the Jets at night nearly every other year for a bit so I could see that happening as it gives the NFL NYC market and divisional opponent to market

 

-The Bills schedule will not be released until the middle of April right before the draft. Leaks will come out so please supply them if you hear anything. There is talk of the NFL turning the schedule release into its own event over the course of multiple weeks. That has not come to fruition but is something to bear in mind.

 

-And if I had to make an early guess as to exactly what the Bills start times in 2020 were it would be this:

 

Home

1:00 pm: NE, NYJ, MIA, LAC, KC, PIT (opportunity to Flex)  

4:00 pm or later start: SEA

MNF: LAR

 

Away

1:00 pm: NE, MIA, TEN

4:00pm or later start: VEG, DEN, ARZ

SNF: SF

TNF: NYJ

 

It breaks down to nine 1:00pm start times, four 4:00 pm starts, and three night games. It would be the largest exposure forever but realistically the four west coast trips force a lot of later games.

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Cortes, good take.  You may want to just say Raiders as Most of us had to get used to the LA Rams, and LA Chargers.  Not a criticism.  My son just turned 21 so might take him to Vegas for that game as I read it most likely is in Late December which means does not conflict with his college schedule.

 

Thanks again for the post.

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The desires of the season ticket base will not factor into the NFL's scheduling calculus.  They don't care if its cold at night in Buffalo...real cold.  I gave up my seasons because of the NFL willfully ignoring the wishes of the holders.  Particularily, the logic of two home Sept, Oct, Nov and Dec games illudes the NFL schedulers.  The bills over the last decade and a half had many seasons with 5 or even 6 games in Nov Dec.  That is to motivate fandom to want a dome. (ain't happening)

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Don't tell @Jay_Fixit we're talking about the schedule release.  ;)

 

I really hope the Vegas game is later in the season.  I agree the Bills will get three primetime games.

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45 minutes ago, eball said:

Don't tell @Jay_Fixit we're talking about the schedule release.  ;)

 

I really hope the Vegas game is later in the season.  I agree the Bills will get three primetime games.

Bro.

 

Im counting the seconds until we can find out times and dates that games vs opponents we already know of are played.

 

Such mystery. Such excitement.

 

 

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46 minutes ago, bigK14094 said:

The desires of the season ticket base will not factor into the NFL's scheduling calculus.  They don't care if its cold at night in Buffalo...real cold.  I gave up my seasons because of the NFL willfully ignoring the wishes of the holders.  Particularily, the logic of two home Sept, Oct, Nov and Dec games illudes the NFL schedulers.  The bills over the last decade and a half had many seasons with 5 or even 6 games in Nov Dec.  That is to motivate fandom to want a dome. (ain't happening)

 

I'm sorry but your wrong. The Bills front office has on many occasions spoke openly at the preference at 1:00 pm and having games earlier in the year. Just about every team would love to start with 5 home games in the first half of the year or more. It's an advantage through and through and no team wants more of their home games late in the year. So every team gets there chance. For the most part since 2013ish on the Bills regularly have had 4-5 home games within the first 8 games minus 2018 when they straight up got screwed by the NFL. But otherwise they were more or less gifted a great start last year, same in 2017, and especially in 2015 when they more or less wasted a great team and favorable schedule early on.

 

The Bills also have pushed back against home night games until recently where it seems that they are OK with 1 every other year. It is not a perfect equation making the schedule the NFL does mess it up yearly for a few teams but in general they do try to give every team a fair shake at least regarding home and away dates.

39 minutes ago, Ned Flanders said:

The Arizona game will be in London.

 

I truthfully think this is more likely then Miami. It allows the NFL to not have to put the Bills at 4 pm while still giving the Bills some stage and getting them in the rotation.

35 minutes ago, Tatonka68 said:

Kansas City at home on MNF, Seattle at home SNF, Buffalo at Tennessee Thursday night. 

 

The only reason why I didn't do Seattle at night is because we did face them on MNF in 16 and at 4:25 pm for out "home" Toronto game. I could see the NFL going either way. But my pick would be one of SEA or LAR at home.

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KC on Monday night, Pitt on Sunday night, at the Jets on Thursday night.

 

 

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8 minutes ago, LABILLBACKER said:

When's the last time the Bills had a SNF, MNF & TNF game in the same season?

 

Never happened. Closest the Bills have had was 2015 or 2016 they got a TNF against the Jets each year and MNF at NE in 15 and SEA in 16

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Here is a question about the 2020 season. I wonder if the Bills will retire #83? Jim, Thurman and Bruce got their numbers retired and Andre would complete the "core of 4" from the Super Bowl years. He deserves to have his number retired as well IMHO.

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17 minutes ago, Greg S said:

Here is a question about the 2020 season. I wonder if the Bills will retire #83? Jim, Thurman and Bruce got their numbers retired and Andre would complete the "core of 4" from the Super Bowl years. He deserves to have his number retired as well IMHO.

 

I've been of the opinion the only three numbers that should be retired are 12, 78, and 32 (although at this point I understand using it). Those three are near the pinnacle of their position. Those three you could argue are Top 10 ever for the position. Andre is a HOF for sure but I am not sure you would say that about him. Good question though wonder what others think

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Being in the 4:00 spot really means nothing as far as national exposure.   You state they don't want the Bills in the 4:00 so many times.  SF, ARZ, VEG, DEN, plus Seattle and Chargers start games at 4:00 at least ten times each season, their 8 home games plus road games against other west coast teams.  That's one reaso neven poor west coast teams get more nationally televised games than the Bills do.

 

There's a huge difference between a 4:05 start and a 4:25 start which conceivably all four of the late starts you mention could become.  4:25 starts means most of the county sees the game.  If they were a 4:05 start that means they are televised only in the Buffalo market and the market of whatever home team they are playing.  Every week of the season there's at least one 4:05 start on whichever network doesn't have the double header game.  Even at 4:25 most weeks there are two games scheduled, one game goes to around a minimum of 80% of the country the other again goes mainly to Buffalo and the home team market.  A year ago if they had this schedule, likely the majority would have been 4:05 starts.  This year they've improved enough to warrant some 4:25 games and night games.  My guess is the San Fran and the Vegas game could be prime time, plus a couple of their home games.  And by prime time I mean either 4:25 or night game.

 

One thing that I think will be intere4sting to see if they give them back to back west coast game as has become a trend in recent years for teams making multiple cross county trips.  That gives the team the option to stay on the opposite coast for like 10 days.  I've sen even west coast teams heading east will sometimes get back to back east coast road games.  Seattle may be a candidate for that.

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There are sometimes leaks the morning of schedule release day, that end up being wrong. I think when philadephia hosted the opening thursday night football game, there was a rumored opponent for months, that ended up being wrong. Dont believe any leaks.

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2 hours ago, Ed_Formerly_of_Roch said:

Being in the 4:00 spot really means nothing as far as national exposure.   You state they don't want the Bills in the 4:00 so many times.  SF, ARZ, VEG, DEN, plus Seattle and Chargers start games at 4:00 at least ten times each season, their 8 home games plus road games against other west coast teams.  That's one reaso neven poor west coast teams get more nationally televised games than the Bills do.

 

There's a huge difference between a 4:05 start and a 4:25 start which conceivably all four of the late starts you mention could become.  4:25 starts means most of the county sees the game.  If they were a 4:05 start that means they are televised only in the Buffalo market and the market of whatever home team they are playing.  Every week of the season there's at least one 4:05 start on whichever network doesn't have the double header game.  Even at 4:25 most weeks there are two games scheduled, one game goes to around a minimum of 80% of the country the other again goes mainly to Buffalo and the home team market.  A year ago if they had this schedule, likely the majority would have been 4:05 starts.  This year they've improved enough to warrant some 4:25 games and night games.  My guess is the San Fran and the Vegas game could be prime time, plus a couple of their home games.  And by prime time I mean either 4:25 or night game.

 

One thing that I think will be intere4sting to see if they give them back to back west coast game as has become a trend in recent years for teams making multiple cross county trips.  That gives the team the option to stay on the opposite coast for like 10 days.  I've sen even west coast teams heading east will sometimes get back to back east coast road games.  Seattle may be a candidate for that.


there still are less games at four and more market available. Additionally SF ARZ DEN VEG are sizable draws for TV mixed with a Bills team that’s on the upswing. It still is more exposure then normal for the team.

 

I think the Bills will probably go back to back for two of the four games. In the past they have. They went 6-2 on the road this year so it’s gonna be the gauntlet to repeat that. 4-4 on the road will be success in my eyes

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At the razor thin chance that the Niners don't win the Superbowl (in which case they would host the Thursday night opener against Seattle or GB) I could see the Sunday night opener being Buffalo @ San Fran.  Back in the 90s this was a Super Bowl dream for many (esp Chris Berman) and it just missed happening so many times.  I think the NFL really likes this matchup when the two teams are doing well.

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What the bills schedule will look like...

 

honestly..I’d be surprised if bills played London. In 2021 they are at both JAX and TB and those teams both do a game in London. It makes more sense to do that.

 

prime time..KC, at TEN. If they schedule a divisional game against NE it will be late where it can get flexed

at LV/DEN..one will be 4 one 425

at SF at 425

at AZ ..at 4 but could be a Thursday NFLN game after one of the other west coast games

 

general prime time game thoughts..

 

GB-49ers will be on nbc.

KC-HOU on nbc/ESPN

SEA-PHL at 425

i think TN-GB play next yr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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For a moment I thought the Bills were playing the "Veggies."  Nice work in any case.  It would be fun to bump this thread when the schedule is announced and see how close it comes.

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I feel good about that schedule. I hope the KC game is in a blizzard.

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KC at Bills will be Sunday night.  Mahomes v. Allen and Bills Mafia.  (The atmosphere of night games in Buffalo is 🔥🔥🔥.  Loud and wild and that presents well on TV.)  Also both teams are proven playoff caliber, and one might even be the Super Bowl champs.  That all could be too much for theleague/networks to resist.  Imagine that game next September.  

 

Bills at 49ers on Monday Night.  Same young QB dynamic, same playoff team dynamics, again one a possible Super Bowl champ.

 

Bills at Jets/Jets at Bills on Monday night.  The location could go either way. I think the past sensitivity of the Bills organization to home Night games was a Mr. Wilson thing.  I don't think the Pegulas necessarily have that same issue.  And truthfully, as the Bills win more games and have players become more recognized, they will be scheduled for night  games and many of those will be at home.  The atmosphere is too good.

 

i could see Bills/Patriots being in that December Saturday slot again if Brady is back,

 

there's my 3 cents.

 

 

 

 

 

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