As you all know by now, the 2012 NFL schedule was released to the masses last night and when it comes to the Buffalo Bills, their challenge is quite daunting, particularly early on. While we all knew the names and locations of Buffalo’s opponents, it wasn’t until last night the dates and times were set and if you ask me, the league didn’t do Buffalo a lot of favors.
Here’s some random thoughts on it:
♦ The Bills are going to have to play decent early on if they want to take advantage of what could be a favorable schedule later in the season. That’s certainly no easy task considering four of their first six and six of their first nine games come on the road.
♦ I’m not a fan of opening the season in New York against the Jets. If New York is able to come up with some unique things to utilize Tim Tebow, Buffalo won’t get the benefit of any game film to study because it will come at their expense in the season opener.
♦ It only seems like the Patriots always get the Bills after their bye week. This marks with the fourth time in nine years that New England faces Buffalo after getting the previous week off, but first since 2007. Two of Buffalo’s first nine games come against the Patriots this year.
I’m pleasantly surprised to see the Seattle game land in Toronto. I thought for sure with Ralph Wilson looking to impress his business partners north of the border and extend their series deal, Toronto would’ve gotten a more appealing opponent. That’s not to say Seattle won’t be good—who thought Cincinnati and San Francisco would both be playoff teams last April?
♦ Speaking of the 49ers, that’s one tough road test following what’ sure to be a difficult home affair with New England.
♦ Mario Williams faces his old Houston team on the road November 4th. He’ll get another week to study his former teammates as the Bills will be coming off their bye.
♦ I’m excited for the Thursday night game at that Ralph against Miami, though I’m sure the same can be said for all Bills fans.
♦ The Bills only have three Sunday afternoon home games before we reach December.
But here are my two most important observations:
♦ If things hold relatively true to form this year, the Bills have a murderous earlier portion of the schedule. However, if they can get to the Miami game on November 15th, their 10th of the season at 5-4 or even 4-5, they could be set up very well for the stretch run. With five of their last seven games at home and the two road contests at Indianapolis and Miami, Buffalo could conceivably run the table late in the season.
♦ Lastly, this schedule comes with a risk. The Bills better be in some kind of postseason contention late, because with four home December games (counting Toronto), that just screams empty stadium if they’re out of it. You can’t ignore the Bills having six blackouts over the past two seasons and if by some chance they’re out of it, that number is sure to grow in cold weather against less than desirable opponents.