If you're a Buffalo Bills fan, now might be the most optimistic you've been about the franchise at this stage of the offseason in the past 25 years. The Bills envisioned a blueprint that includes a physical team in the trenches on both sides of the ball, a quarterback who can change the complexion of a game on one play -- via his arm or legs, and a pass defense that yields next to nothing -- even after losing elite cornerback Stephon Gilmore in free agency just a few years back. Things look bright for the Bills heading into the 2020 season.
It helps the Bills are fresh off their second playoff berth in three seasons and added Stefon Diggs to an offense led by Josh Allen that features incredible continuity. The starting offensive line remains the same as a season ago and swapping rookie running back Zack Moss for Frank Gore is the only noteworthy personnel loss on that side of the ball. On defense, Lorenzo Alexander retired and Jordan Phillips, Shaq Lawson, and Kevin Johnson left in free agency. But GM Brandon Beane added Mario Addison, Quinton Jefferson, Vernon Butler, Josh Norman, and A.J. Klein in free agency. This is the best roster Buffalo's had in many years. With Tom Brady out of the division, is this the season the Bills win the AFC East and a playoff game for the first time since 1995?
What we can answer for you is exactly how the Bills schedule will play out -- week by week. Below, we'll break down the 2020 schedule by week and pinpoint all of the primetime games to keep an eye on. We'll also dive into Buffalo's strength of schedule, what we project as their toughest stretch of games, and more. Without further ado, let's dive right into it.
The Pick Six Podcast gang fired up a new episode breaking down every eye-catching aspect of the NFL's schedule release. Give it a listen below, and be sure to subscribe on your favorite podcast platform:
- Week 1, Sep. 13: vs. Jets, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
- Week 2, Sep. 20: at Dolphins, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
- Week 3, Sep. 27: vs. Rams, 1 p.m. ET, Fox
- Week 4, Oct. 4: at Raiders, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS
- Week 5, Oct. 11: at Titans, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
- Week 6, Oct. 15: vs. Chiefs (Thursday Night Football), 8:20 p.m. ET, Fox
- Week 7, Oct. 25: at Jets, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
- Week 8, Nov. 1: vs. Patriots, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
- Week 9, Nov. 8: vs. Seahawks, 1 p.m. ET, Fox
- Week 10, Nov. 15: at Cardinals, 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS
- Week 11: BYE
- Week 12, Nov. 29: vs. Chargers, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
- Week 13, Dec. 7: at 49ers (Monday Night Football), 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN
- Week 14, Dec. 13: vs. Steelers (Sunday Night Football), 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC
- Week 15, Dec. 19/20: at Broncos, TBD
- Week 16, Dec. 28: at Patriots (Monday Night Football), 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN
- Week 17, Jan. 3: vs. Dolphins, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
Buffalo will square off against Sam Darnold and the Jets at home in Week 1. A year ago, the AFC East rivals split their meetings. Bragging rights are on the line in the critical divisional matchup as former first-round picks Josh Allen and Darnold are entering an important third season. The team will have a chance to introduce Diggs for the first time.
There are a month and a half of games from November to the middle of December that will be challenging. The journey begins at home against the AFC East rival Patriots. It continues with games against the Seahawks and Cardinals before a Bye week allows them to catch their collective breath.
Buffalo returns with three games against the Chargers, 49ers and Steelers. The latter two fall in prime time.
As noted above in the schedule breakdown, the Bills will be playing four prime-time games in 2020. They will have two on the road and two at home. In 2019, Buffalo played in three prime-time games. They visited the Cowboys on Thanksgiving and had away outings against the Steelers and Patriots in December.
Strength of schedule
Earlier this offseason, John Breech broke down the 2020 strength of schedule for all 32 NFL teams based on combined opponent winning percentage in 2019. The Bills' strength of schedule in 2020 is tied for the fifth-toughest. For a complete look at every team's strength of schedule, .
However, when basing strength of schedule on the over/under win totals for each team's opponents during the 2020 season at William Hill Sportsbook, the Bills go from facing the fifth-most difficult schedule in the league to being tied for the eighth-most difficult. Not a huge disparity. For a complete look at every team's strength of schedule using this methodology, check out Jared Dubin's full breakdown here.