By Nick Richardson @NickSonofDave on May 24, 2014
Of all of the many over-hyped things about the NFL offseason, one of the most over-hyped is the strength of schedule for the upcoming season. This is based strictly on the results of the previous season and offers little insight into how a team will perform. Nevertheless, there are games whose importance can be determined right away. Here are five such games on the Buffalo Bills’ 2014 schedule.
This game represents an interesting matchup given the results of the draft. Sammy Watkins and Johnny Manziel figure to be two of the top rookies in the league. But this is also a very important game for Buffalo. On paper, Cleveland is a team it should beat. However, the Bills have produced a few clunkers in years past against their Lake Erie rivals. As they move into the home stretch, this is a game that the Bills can't afford to overlook.
This is another interesting matchup and also a potential trap. Khalil Mack will be facing his hometown team for the first time, which should provide some intrigue. Much like their game against Cleveland, this trip to the Black Hole is one the Bills can’t afford to lose. This being the penultimate game of the season makes the stakes even higher considering the Bills could be in the hunt for the playoffs and might be looking ahead to New England.
This will be the first of two meetings between the Bills and the Jets in four weeks. The two teams split their series last year, with both home teams winning. The Bills’ trip to the Meadowlands could prove to be a turning point at the halfway mark of the season. It’s anyone’s guess who the Jets’ quarterback will be at this point or what their record will be. Regardless, this game is always an important one in the Bills’ season, and will be again.
It’s always risky to place so much importance on a game early in the season. But when a team is facing a make-or-break season like the Bills are this year, it’s imperative to get off to a good start. The Bills performed very well against the Dolphins last year, taking both games in the season series. The first few games of the season often set the tone for the rest of the year; with a win here, the Bills could begin a push towards the playoffs.
This seems to be the Bills’ biggest game of the season year after year. Buffalo simply hasn’t been able to figure out New England ever since that Tom Brady guy arrived. Their home game against the Patriots comes at a crucial point in the schedule. The first half of the Bills’ season appears easier than the second. The Bills could have some momentum coming into this matchup. A win would send shock waves through the organization and the league.
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