Teeing up the kickoff: Brian G from SB Nation's Buffalo Bills blog, Buffalo Rumblings.
tommasse: The Bills appear to have a very tough early schedule and then an early bye week (Week 6). Without getting too deep into predictions, what are the tough and easy parts of the schedule, and where can the Bills "make their move"?
Brian G: Boy, how true that is -- it's the same as '06, when the Bills opened with three straight divisional games (two of them on the road). The schedule makers are not kind to the Bills, and that holds especially true this season. The first five contests are: vs. Denver, at Pittsburgh, at New England, vs. the Jets and vs. Dallas on Monday Night Football. Those are five teams that will at least contend for the playoffs this season. I'd consider it a good start if we won the three home games, but those are difficult contests. [Starting] 2-3 is a more realistic expectation, although this team is so young it's hard to tell just how good (or bad) they'll be.
I expect this team to really turn it on and prove they're a future contender starting in Week 9. They play the Bengals at home that week, then follow that up with: at Miami, vs. New England, at Jacksonville, at Washington, vs. Miami and at Cleveland. That's a seven game stretch where the Bills could come away with four to five wins -- we own the Dolphins, have home-field advantage against the Bengals and Pats, play relatively iffy opponents in the Jags (who we beat last season) and Washington, and a very sketchy Browns squad. That stretch of games should give the Bills a confidence boost heading into 2008, when they should make their real playoff push.
There really isn't an easy part to Buffalo's schedule. Every team (save Cleveland, a game we should dominate in) will be a tough challenge for our young organization. They've got a lot of growing up to do, and this schedule will make them grow up fast.
tommasse's retort: I think the Bills are improving, but after looking at their schedule, I think they're going to have a tough year. Brian is just putting on a brave face for the Bills fans. Theirs is a brutal schedule, probably as bad or worse than the league made New England's in 2004. That turned out well for the Patriots, but I don't think Buffalo will enjoy a similar outcome. By the way, New England is 6-1 in Buffalo since 2000. The Patriots only loss was 31-0 the week of the Lawyer Milloy fiasco. The other scores: 13-10 (Bledsoe's last trip to Buffalo in a Patriots uniform), 12-9, 38-7, 31-17, 35-7 and 28-6. Not sure I'd call that "home-field advantage."
OK, it's your turn. Step up to the Pulpit and say your piece. And if you have a question you want me to ask next week, email me, and I'll pose the best queries to our friends at Buffalo Rumblings, The Phinsider and NY Landing Strip.