The Bills hit the ground running in 2020. Not just on the football field, but a year ago Buffalo had four prime-time games handed to them by the NFL when the schedule was released.
After the uber-successful season that ensued, could the Bills be lined up for even more prime-time matchups in 2021?
With the NFL schedule release slated for this Wednesday, here are five possible candidates for the Bills:
Bills at Buccaneers
Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) and tight end Rob Gronkowski. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Perhaps the most obvious and one that's gaining some big-time momentum to be slated as a prime-time game already, the Bills visiting the Buccaneers. Not only that, some are calling for this game to kickoff the entire NFL season, potentially. The storylines here are obvious, too. Tom Brady owned the AFC East for so long, does he still? Plus, the Bills were close to the Super Bowl while the Bucs won it in 2020. Couple of heavyweights. Worth noting, per Bucs Wire, reports indicate that the Bucs will already be one of the teams in the NFL's season opener. Half-way there.
Bills at Chiefs
Cole Beasley #11 of the Bills. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
The AFC Championship Game did not go as planned for the Bills. During the regular season when Kansas City visited Buffalo, things also did not go well. Despite those outcomes, many peg the Bills and Chiefs as the top-two teams in the AFC still. Locally, Buffalo would love to see this because the Bills clearly formulated some of their offseason moves in direct reaction to their losses to the Chiefs in 2020. The easiest one to see is how the Bills attacked their pass-rushing position.
Colts at Bills
Bills QB Josh Allen. Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Over the past few seasons, we've seen the Bills meet the Steelers in big-time matchups. Some were previously even flexed into prime-time spots. The Bills face the Steelers again in 2021, and while that meeting was certainly in consideration for this list, we picked the Colts instead. Another matchup from last season, the Bills and Colts duked it out in a fun postseason game that Buffalo won. In addition, the Colts have a huge spotlight on them this season with Carson Wentz being traded to Indianapolis this offseason. While that QB situation might not matter much to Buffalo, the schedule-makers will probably consider that.
Patriots at Bills
Quarterback Cam Newton. Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
Let's face it, the Bills facing the Patriots gets us all up. We picked the Patriots visiting Buffalo because these two teams met on prime time last year, but it was in New England, so let's switch it up. The Pats didn't look like the team we're used to last year. Of course, no Brady helps that out... but are they poised for a bounce-back year? They've made tons of free agent additions, drafted well including bringing in rookie QB Mac Jones, and many forget the Patriots had the most players that opted out of last season. Naturally, Bill Belichick still being there always adds intrigue, too.
Bills at Jets
Zach Wilson stands onstage with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
While Buffalo does not want to admit it and will throw a "New Jersey" joke at us now, the Jets play in the New York City market and it is massively larger than western New York. Just a fact, and because of that, the Jets and Giants will always get prime-time consideration. But adding further intrigue, the Bills and Jets do both have two young franchise faces under center now. That's not to say Zach Wilson is, at all, an established NFL QB like Josh Allen. However, he was recently the No. 2 overall pick so the NFL will want to get eyes on him... and the Bills should love the chance to beat the Jets up with the nation watching anyway, right?