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Earlier, we highlighted some of the roster changes and the expectations for the Buffalo Bills heading into the 2022 season. Now it’s time to take a game-by-game look at how their season could go. We look at some of the biggest, most important matchups on the schedule and predict their regular season record. Let’s dive in.
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Buffalo Bills’ 2022 schedule includes both Super Bowl teams from 2021, again
Just like last season, the Bills have both Super Bowl teams on their schedule this year. Only, it seems to be perfectly put together. In this case, they face the Los Angeles Rams in Week 1, giving them an immediate chance to see how they compare to one of the best rosters in football. What I think is great, is that they also face the Cincinnati Bengals, but not until Week 17.
Bills Mafia can see how they compare on the measuring stick right away, but also just before they’re set to begin postseason play. This means even if they start out hot, maybe even with a win against the Rams, they’ll have 15 games in between, where they may start to slack off and forget what it’s like to take on the game’s best. That’s why, to me, another elite opponent being scheduled late in the year is ideal.
As a bonus, both games are being played in primetime. Some players or teams disappear in the biggest moments, when the lights are on, with millions tuning into the only game on television. That’s the exact scenario we’ll see on NBC’s Thursday Night Football when the Bills kick off the season on Sept. 8 in LA.
In a similar situation, the Bills will travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals on Monday Night Football on ESPN on Jan. 2.
While these matchups are already circled if you’re rumbling with the herd, there are a few other battles set to take place that could significantly impact Buffalo’s season.
Their first two games are in primetime, against playoff teams from a year ago. In fact, eight of the team’s 17 games will be against playoff opponents from 2021. Six will be in primetime, if not more, as the league holds the option to flex some games to other time slots. With the Bills expected to be competitive, they would be a prime candidate to land another game or two in primetime late in the year.
With so many crucial games on the schedule, let’s take a look at the entire schedule.
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Bills Mafia’s 2022 schedule outlook
Playing a 17-game schedule for the second time since the league took away one preseason game to add another one that counts, the Bills know what to expect heading into 2022. Yet, they also have a Buffalo-sized target on their backs, with teams recognizing the excellent framework of their roster.
As usual, they have six matchups against their rivals in the AFC East. The Bills are likely to be favored in each one, but that doesn’t mean we should count them all as a W just yet. While they went 5-1 in inner-division battles in 2021, the East is expected to be much better this season.
You may have heard, but the ‘Phish have added a lot of talent all around the roster, including that damn Tyreek Hill. But that doesn’t mean the Rumbling Herd can’t still squish the ‘Phish. Tua Tagovailoa is as unproven as they come. He won’t be able to connect with Hill like Patrick Mahomes had a knack for doing downfield. Yet, we can’t rule out the Dolphins as contenders just yet. Looking good on paper, this team has its question marks.
The Patriots are a dumpster fire on offense for once, but it’s still hard to envision Bill Belichick’s team falling entirely on their face. The Jets have also undergone an offseason makeover, but like the Dolphins, we don’t know what to expect from Zach Wilson. Still, the second overall pick from the 2021 NFL Draft seems poised for a big step forward.
Making game-by-game predictions before seeing any of the 32 NFL teams in regular season action is a bit crazy, but it’s better to set some expectations ahead of the year. Of course, injuries and surprise performers will always play a factor. We never know when a player could take a Josh Allen-sized leap from one year to the next. Did anyone predict that Joe Burrow would lead the Bengals to the Super Bowl in his second season? Of course not.
Last year I may have been a bit too optimistic. It’s a fault, for sure. This year, feeling like the roster is even better, it’s difficult not to bring that same level of optimism. Yet, we also have to account for the AFC Conference getting a lot more competitive over the offseason after several superstars switched teams.
Just for the record, I had the Bills going 13-4 last season. That’s a lot of wins. This time around, I’d rather set the bar low and be pleasantly surprised if/when they clear it.
Aside from a shaky AFC East, the Bills’ schedule features a lot of potentially tough opponents. There are few games on the schedule where one can feel like a win is almost guaranteed. But that shouldn’t really scare anyone when thinking about Buffalo’s long-term chances to bring home a Lombardi Trophy.
DraftKings betting lines have the Buffalo Bills over/under at 11.5 wins, which ties with the Buccaneers for the best-projected win total. The Packers are the only other team with an over/under set at 11 wins. Tom Brady’s Bucs aren’t on the schedule this season, but Aaron Rodgers and his crew, are. Let’s look at Buffalo’s regular season schedule.
- Week 1 @ Los Angeles Rams - Thursday Night Football - L
- Week 2 vs. Tennessee Titans - Monday Night Football - W
- Week 3 @ Miami Dolphins - L
- Week 4 @ Baltimore Ravens - L
- Week 5 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers - W
- Week 6 @ Kansas City Chiefs - W
- Week 7 Bye
- Week 8 vs. Green Bay Packers - Sunday Night Football - L
- Week 9 @ New York Jets - W
- Week 10 vs. Minnesota Vikings - W
- Week 11 vs. Cleveland Browns - W
- Week 12 @ Detroit Lions - Thanksgiving Day - W
- Week 13 @ New England Patriots - Thursday Night Football - W
- Week 14 vs. New York Jets - W
- Week 15 vs. Miami Dolphins - W
- Week 16 @ Chicago Bears - W
- Week 17 @ Cincinnati Bengals - Monday Night Football - L
- Week 18 vs. New England Patriots - W
- Bills regular season schedule prediction: 11-5
Wow. That’s a lot of primetime games on the schedule, which is always a strong indication of how the league’s schedule-makers view a team heading into the year. The Bills went 3-3 in primetime action last season, going 2-2 in regular season battles, and 1-1 in postseason play.
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All of their primetime games are against 2021 playoff teams.
Bills Fans may be looking at the schedule, seeing the Rams, Chiefs, and Bengals as the biggest hurdles to clear. I’m not saying that’s not the case, but there are plenty of other difficult games that I could see giving the team trouble. Any Given Sunday - I love it because it’s so true. These players are in the NFL for a reason. Just because the Jaguars are on the schedule doesn’t mean they don’t have talent on the roster, especially if they’ve been losing all season long and have developed a massive chip on their shoulders.
Even though the Bills narrowly lost in the AFC Divisional game, they won’t have nearly the same competitive fire, looking to prove their doubters wrong. They’ll simply be trying to live up to expectations, which is a lot more pressure, week in and week out.
We all know the Bills have the potential to beat any and every team in the NFL. Now they just have to go out and do it.