By Nick Richardson @NickSonofDave on August 21, 2014
People around the NFL will tell you about the dangers of looking ahead on the schedule, especially in the preseason. But some games are obviously bigger than others. With the start of the regular season looming, these are five games on the Buffalo Bills’ 2014 schedule that could be turning points in the season.
Since Week 4 marks the end of the first quarter of the season, this road game in Houston will be a good barometer of where the Bills are at early in the season. On paper, the Texans are a team that the Bills should be able to beat, even on the road. Win or lose, the result of this early-season contest will tell us a lot about just how good (or bad) Buffalo is.
The Bills played very well against the Jets last year, winning their home game easily and losing their road game by just seven points. It’s anyone’s guess where the Jets will be midway through the season, so this could be a big opportunity for the Bills. It could also be a big trap game. Buffalo can’t afford to be sloppy against teams it knows it can beat, and this midseason game will be a good test for them before their bye in Week 9.
The Bills’ only prime-time game comes against their longtime rivals down in Miami. At this point in the season, the Bills are expecting to be right in the thick of the playoff race. Despite going 6-10 in 2013, Buffalo swept the Dolphins, and a repeat of that feat is imperative to the Bills’ playoff hopes. The Dolphins look like a very beatable team in 2014, even more reason that the Bills need to come out of Miami with a W.
Regardless of who is playing quarterback for the Browns at this point in the season, this is an absolute must-win game for the Bills. Buffalo has had an unfortunate tendency in years past to play poorly late in the year against less-than-stellar teams. The most recent example was last year’s embarrassing loss to the Buccaneers. That cannot happen against Cleveland this year if the Bills want to make the playoffs.
Buffalo has never won a game at Gillette Stadium, something that needs to change in 2014. The Bills have been faring better against their division opponents in the past couple seasons. They need to continue to perform well against their AFC East rivals. Even if the Bills are out of the playoff race, a good showing against the Patriots in Foxborough will show the rest of the NFL how far the Bills have come.
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