With the NFL Draft and Free Agency having changed the physical makeup of the league’s 32 teams and the Regular Season Schedule order now released and odds set for the coming 2015 NFL Season, let’s take a look at each team’s schedule, predicting a simple Win or Loss for each scheduled game date in a 32-part series which begins here in the AFC East with the upstart Buffalo Bills.
Introduction and The Potential Brady Effect on the Bills
There is much positivity surrounding the Buffalo Bills (23/1 to win AFC, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) despite the fact the AFC East team had no Round 1 Pick in this year’s NFL Draft. Buffalo (9-7 in 2014) traded for Minnesota Vikings backup QB Matt Cassel and it seems he and EJ Manuel will battle for the starting job this summer, with Cassel probably eventually landing the starting gig. The Bills also got RB LeSean McCoy from the Philadelphia Eagles in a trade for LB Kiko Alonso, potentially a wise move for Buffalo if McCoy can return to the peak form he once showed and also signed sometimes Problem Child WR Percy Harvin, who along with WRs Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods, will give the Bills and whoever wins the starting QB job some nice targets on Offense. Buffalo also signed G Richie Incognito, backup QB Tyrod Taylor; re-signed DE Jerry Hughes and selected Florida State CB Ronald Darby with the 50th Pick in the NFL Draft, so General manager Doug Whaley and new Head Coach Rex Ryan have added some nice parts on Offense (McCoy, Harvin) while keeping their much-improved Defense (289 Points Allowed, 2nd best in AFC) at the peak level to which it has now evolved.
And with Monday’s news that the NFL has imposed a 4-game suspension on the QB (Tom Brady) of Bills rival and AFC counterpart, the defending Super Bowl champions New England Patriots (Odds moved from 7/1 to 8/1 to win Super Bowl 50 after Monday’s news, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook), it seems that can only be a good thing for Buffalo, although it will no doubt be overhyped by the Mainstream Media and Brady and the Patriots will appeal Commissioner Roger Goodell’s suspension, so who knows how many games Brady will be suspended if he ultimately is and when those games may be. In the context of the Bills here, that Week 2 date (Sept. 20) at Home at Ralph Wilson Stadium against the Patriots would obviously be much more winnable with Brady suspended and Eastern Illinois University product Jimmy Garoppolo behind center, but remember that the Bills will likely have either Cassel or Manuel at QB, the Patriots will have plenty of Time to prepare for this potential scenario and the Patriots are the Patriots and the Bills are still the Bills. Also, because nobody knows that much about Garoppolo or hasn’t seen him play doesn’t mean that he can’t come in and shock the world. Brady was once in a similar position as the highly-regarded (in NFL circles) 23-year-old Arlington Heights, Illinois native Garoppolo was and look how it has all turned out for him.
Week 1—Sunday, September 13 vs. Indianapolis Colts (CBS, 1 pm ET/10 am PT)
The Bills open up at Home at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park against the AFC South champion Indianapolis Colts and QB Andrew Luck. Week 1 NFL odds have the Colts installed as 2½-point favorites over Buffalo (Total: 47, GTBets) in this game, and with a steady QB in place, the visitors should get the Win with the hosts having either new acquisition Matt Cassel (Vikings) and EJ Manuel at the starting QB position. The home Buffalo crowd will be a big factor in this NFL Kickoff Weekend game, but Indianapolis has Luck and that’s worth about 10-13 points each game and if the Bills do gel Offensively, it will take some Time.
Bills Week 1 Predicted Result: Loss (0-1)
Week 2—Sunday, September 20 vs. New England Patriots (CBS, 1 pm ET/10 am PT)
What could be worse than having to face the Colts and Luck in Week 1? How about facing the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots (4/9 to win AFC East, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) at Home the following week? True, Buffalo has played New England very tough at Ralph Wilson—it won 17-9 in the 2014 Regular Season finale—and there is a possibility now that Patriots superstar QB Tom Brady may be out for this particular game because of the 4-game suspension handed down by the NFL on Monday. But with an appeal looming and no exact dates pinpointed, assuming that Brady will end up missing this game two days after Mother’s Day seems like wishful thinking. Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick will be in a foul mood because of all this mess, and knowing that this has been a tough spot on their schedule and that they lost here last year will mean New England, even if Garoppolo is at QB, should be able to find a way to win in probably another close and low-scoring brawl in upstate New York. And if even Brady does play, this will still be tight and must-see professional football as the Patriots are the One Big Hump this Bills team need to get over to get where they want to go as an organization. And that certainly won’t be easy.
Bills Week 2 Predicted Result: Loss (0-2)
Week 3—Sunday, September 27 at Miami Dolphins (CBS, 4:35 pm ET/1:35 pm PT)
The Bills head south to Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida for their first Road game, which will be a tough test with the Fish so improved and Buffalo possibly starting in an 0-2 hole, thanks to the NFL Schedule-makers and Messers. Luck and Brady, suspension-willing for the latter of course. It wouldn’t be the NFL if there weren’t some kind of Drama off the field going on now would it? But sometimes it’s hard to keep The Circus in The Tent and you know it’s all gone too far when we hear of Deflategate 1,111 times a day and an earthquake (another) in Nepal only like 11. Anyway, no matter what happens in Weeks 1 and 2, this might be a huge game for Buffalo, as a potential 0-3 start could await at the end of the day. This one feels like it will also be very low-scoring and decided by less than 5 points, with the winner having Hope in the AFC East and the loser already bitter before October has even started. With Ryan Tannehill making some nice strides as Dolphins QB last season and Free Agent Ndamukong Suh coming in to bolster the Defense, these two teams are an awful lot alike, so much so that they each won at each other’s stadiums last season. Miami will remember that and should find a way to eke out a win, although this game could be deemed a toss-up.
Bills Week 3 Predicted Result: Loss (0-3)
Week 4—Sunday, October 4: vs. New York Giants (FOX, 1 pm ET/10 am PT)
This inter-conference, intrastate game will be huge for the Bills if they are indeed 0-3, and luckily for Buffalo it’s at Home and the G-Men and QB Eli Manning are just shadows of their former selves. This seems like another low-scoring affair with the Bills Defense helping them win the game and restore a glimmer of Hope for this 2015 Regular Season. Remember, these are all theoreticals and just a quick, simple, logical feel for what may happen with what may have already happened before affecting the need for wins at certain spots on all of these 32 NFL teams’ schedules.
Bills Week 4 Predicted Result: Win (1-3)
Week 5—Sunday, October 11: at Tennessee Titans (CBS, 1 pm ET/10 am PT)
LP Field in Nashville will be the site of this game for the Bills and maybe Buffalo gets to go against Heisman Trophy winner and Titans #1 Draft Pick at QB, Oregon’s Marcus Mariota. We will see. For me, Buffalo’s Defense and Roster are just way better than Tennessee’s and this is a must-win spot on the schedule for Buffalo and the probably get the W in the Volunteer State and gain a little more confidence. The Buffalo Bills will expect to win here. The Tennessee Titans won’t.
Bills Week 5 Predicted Result: Win (2-3)
Week 6—Sunday, October 18: vs. Cincinnati Bengals (CBS, 1 pm ET/10 am PT)
Maybe the most important date in the first half of the Bills schedule, this Home game against improved AFC North side Cincinnati Bengals and QB Andy Dalton could get Buffalo back to .500 or down to a hopeless 2-4 start, depending, of course, what happens leading up to this point in the Regular Season. Both have stronger Defenses than in previous years, but because I believe Buffalo will start to gel by now (Week 6) with QB Cassel, RB McCoy, WR Harvin and all the other new parts—including Head Coach Rex Ryan—and because it had to face the Colts-Patriots back-to-back in Weeks 1 and 2, knocking off the Bengals here seems logical.
Bills Week 6 Predicted Result: Win (3-3)
Week 7—Sunday, October 25: vs Jacksonville Jaguars ? (Wembley Stadium, London, England, 9:30 am ET/6:30 am PT)
So the NFL schedule-makers must have felt bad giving the Bills the Colts-Patriots to open up the season, so they gave them Titans-Jaguars-Bye Week as some kind of strange reward right in the middle of the Regular Season here (Bills -5, NFL Games Of the Year Odds, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook). So Goodell does have a heart. And it may be made out of leather, but it’s still a Heart. Expect the Bills to get the win here Across The Pond in Londontown and get their heads above water for the first time in the Regular Season... heading into their much-needed Bye Week which will give them time to adjust to any jet-lag and think about what they have learned in the First Half of the NFL Season.
Bills Week 7 Predicted Result: Win (4-3)
Week 8—Sunday, November 1: Bye Week
Week 9—Sunday, November 8: vs. Miami Dolphins (CBS, 4:25 pm ET/1:25 pm PT) This is where the Bills get some traction and confidence, avenging a theoretical Week 3 loss at Miami and winning their 5th in a row after an 0-3 start. A girl can dream. Again, the Defense, the homefield advantage and retribution will be the big differences here for the homeboys who will remember that they lost this game here to The Fish last season (Week 2, 29-10). The renowned Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook NFL Games of the Year opened this up this game in Orchard Park as a Pick ‘Em, a real testament to how good oddsmakers believe the upstart Dolphins (Opened 4/1 to win AFC East, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) have now become.
Bills Week 9 Predicted Result: Win (5-3)
Week 10—Thursday, November 12: at New York Jets (NFL Network, 8:25 pm ET/5:25 pm PT)
This will be a huge game for Buffalo—on the shortest of possible rests—and nobody has done more in the offseason in terms of improving its roster than these New York Jets. Last season, Buffalo thrashed the Jets, 43-23 in this meeting at MetLife Stadium in beautiful East Meadowlands, New Jersey, and with a 35-point (38-3) win in the second meeting in a game rescheduled (snow) and played in Ford Field in Detroit, expecting even a much-improved Jets team which still may have QB issues to win here in Week 10 may still be a bit of a stretch. New York AFC could definitely win here, but it probably won’t and the Bills may be on a roll (6 straight?) by now in this theoretical schedule breakdown and eyeballing the postseason.
Bills Week 10 Predicted Result: Win (6-3)
Week 11—Monday, November 23: at New England Patriots (ESPN, 8:25 pm ET/5:25 pm PT)
The marquee game on the Buffalo Bills 2015 Regular Season schedule, this prime time affair from Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts will more than likely feature Tom Brady as the New England Patriots starting QB unless something out of the ordinary happens. Buffalo will head into this game enjoying the longest of possible rests (10 days), but with the game in New England and the Patriots possibly needing the Win more than the visitors at this point in the season, the Bills theoretical winning streak in this breakdown stops here (Patriots -6½, NFL Games Of the Year, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook).
Bills Week 11 Predicted Result: Loss (6-4)
Week 12—Sunday, November 29: at Kansas City Chiefs (CBS, 4 pm ET/1 pm PT)
This could also be a very big game for the Buffalo Bills 2015 on their Regular Season schedule, and like last season at Arrowhead Stadium (Chiefs 17-13), I see the host Chiefs winning a low-scoring chess match in a game which should be equally important for this AFC West side. Like some others, this could honestly go either way, but giving the Bills the nod and the ‘W’ at Home against the Bengals in a toss-up means giving that giving them an ‘L’ here keeps the balance (1-1) of what could theoretically happen in two competitive games in the Fall.
Bills Week 12 Predicted Result: Loss (6-5)
Week 13—Sunday, December 6: vs. Houston Texans (CBS, 4 pm ET/1 pm PT)
Almost all teams in the NFL have a game they lose at Home each Regular Season they think they should have won and this may end up being that game for Buffalo. The Texans aren’t exactly as improved (on paper) as the Bills may be, but I expect a better campaign from Houston which may be the NFL team which most reminds me of this Bills team. But winning up in Buffalo is never easy for opponents, so the Texans will probably need everything to go right to win this game, but it’s definitely one they can with the Bills still evolving as they are.
Bills Week 13 Predicted Result: Loss (6-6)
Week 14—Sunday, December 13: at Philadelphia Eagles (CBS, 4 pm ET/1 pm PT)
Lincoln Financial Field in the City of Brotherly Love and Disdain is the sire of this possibly postseason pivotal game which could send the Bills back under the .500 mark. although the Eagles and Head Coach Chip Kelly also have some questions at QB, the site and the probability the hosts will be battling the Dallas Cowboys for the NFC East crown mean that Philadelphia probably wins this game.
Bills Week 14 Predicted Result: Loss (6-7)
Week 15—Sunday, December 20: at Washington Redskins (CBS, 4 pm ET/1 pm PT)
This may end up being a very important game for Buffalo, but luckily for them, the Redskins should still be in Rebuilding Mode in the 2015 NFL season, so winning here at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland with their hopefully still stellar Defense is definitely doable and will probably even be expected by this point in the season by the Bills.
Bills Week 15 Predicted Result: Win (7-7)
Week 16—Sunday, December 27: vs. Dallas Cowboys (FOX, 4 pm ET/1 pm PT)
After beating a weak NFC East opponent on the Road in Week 16, expect the Bills to lose to a strong NFC East opponents at Home here in week 17 against QB Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys, who were probably one of the best eight teams in the NFL last season—something the Bills can’t claim even with their above .500 record in the end. Here, the need for the Cowboys to win to either catch/stay even with/or stay ahead of the Eagles will probably motivate them to a win, along with their now-improved Defense and skill position players like new-signee RB Darren McFadden (Raiders), WRs Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams and TE Jason Witten. This should be close and exciting, but an ‘L’ for the Bills in the end with my NFL picks.
Bills Week 16 Predicted Result: Loss (7-8)
Week 17—Sunday, January 3: vs. New York Jets (CBS, 4 pm ET/1 pm PT)
The Bills get back to .500 but fall ½ game under their posted Season Team Win Total here with the Regular Season finale at Home at (likely snowy) Ralph Wilson against those lovable Jets, whom, as we saw, lost to Buffalo by 20 (43-23 at) and 35 (38-3 in a Rescheduled ‘Home’ Game in Detroit) points last season. No matter how much the Jets improve, the realities that New York lost by an average of 27.5 ppg to the Bills last year, the fact that the game is in Orchard Park and is the Regular Season finale is enough to give the host Bills the automatic Win here. Getting DB Darrelle Revis (Patriots) and drafting DE Leonard Williams (USC) and WR Devin Smith (Ohio State) will do wonders for the Jets (Opened 12/1 to win AFC East, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook), but it may end up taking a couple of seasons for this team to get where they want to be, especially here in the seemingly improved AFC East.
Bills Week 17 Predicted Result: Win (8-8)
The five big games that might determine the Buffalo Bills fate this season are the Week 5 encounter at Home against the Bengals; the Week 10 game against the Jets in East Rutherford (in the context that Buffalo probably can’t afford to lose that game); the Week 12 Home game with against the Chiefs at Arrowhead; the following Week 13 meeting with the Texans at Home at Ralph Wilson; and, the Week 16 meeting at Home against the Cowboys.
It seems that the 2015 Regular Season could be one of streaks for this team, which despite all the improvements on Defense and on the roster, will still have potential QB issues along the way and the Bills play in the AFC East, the division where the Miami Dolphins—the team we will look at next in our 32-team Sportsbook Review schedule breakdown—the Super Bowl champions New England Patriots and the vastly improved New York Jets all call home.
The 2014 season offered some promise for Buffalo (Opened 5/1 to win AFC East, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) and its fans, but the 8½ posted Regular Season Team Wins seems about a game too high, and making a Futures Bet on the Season Team Total Under would be the slight lean here, although the Bills finishing anywhere from 6-10 to 10-6 wouldn’t really end up surprising anyone. This will probably be another year of growth and looking up at the Patriots in the AFC East for Buffalo—just like it will be for the Dolphins and Jets and just like previous seasons. Hey, the more things change, the more they stay the same, right?
Buffalo Bills Projected Final Record: 8-8
Buffalo Bills Futures Book Pick: Season Team Win Total Under 8½ -110 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)