OPINION: 10 takeaways from Bills' 2021 schedule

The 2021 regular season schedule has finally been released

It's finally here. The 2021 Buffalo Bills schedule was released Wednesday night and features a number of marquee games throughout the 18-week schedule.

Here are 10 takeaways from the Bills' regular season schedule:

1.) Good afternoon!

Let’s start with the preseason schedule, which was also released Wednesday. Two of the Bills' three preseason games are afternoon contests, which is a bit different. Saturday, Aug. 21, they’ll play in Chicago against the Bears, and the following Saturday, Aug. 28, they’re at home against the Green Bay Packers. Both games will kickoff at 1 p.m. ET.

2.) First and last impressions

The Bills will start with three out of their first four games at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, and finish with three out of four at home, as well.  A fast start is essential, and a solid ending would be ideal. They’ll have an opportunity for both.

3.) Bills after dark

The Bills are scheduled for four prime-time games, one less than the maximum of five per-team. 10 teams received five night games. The Bills are one of five that were given four of them.

Here’s the breakdown:

4.) Bills away after dark

Although the Bills were scheduled for four prime-time contests, only one of them is at home, against the New England Patriots on Dec. 6 for "Monday Night Football." The other three are all on the road against the Kansas City Chiefs, Tennessee Titans, and...

5.) Cajun turkey

The Bills are scheduled to play the New Orleans Saints on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, in the prime-time slot at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. It’s been just two years since both teams last appeared on Thanksgiving, back in 2019. It will be the Bills' 10th appearance all-time, and the Saints' fourth, including three out of the last four years.

6.) Home sick

A big reason why it will be important to take advantage of those home games to start and finish is because the Bills will play only one home game over a six-week stretch, Weeks 5-10, from Oct. 10 to Nov. 14. Over that time, they’ll play two road prime-time games against the Chiefs and Titans, have a bye week, come home for a Sunday afternoon game against the Miami Dolphins, then be back on the road for a pair of Sunday afternoon contests against the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets.

7.) Done by dinner

The only Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET kickoff for the Bills is their Week 14 contest against the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Other than their four prime-time games, every other game is scheduled to kickoff on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

Here's how it breaks down, by time of kickoff:

- 1 p.m. ET: 11 games
- 4:25 p.m. ET: 1 game
- 8:15 p.m. ET: 2 games
- 8:25 p.m. ET: 2 games
- TBD: 1 game

8.) Saturday switch?

For the last two seasons, the Bills have had a December road game flexed to Saturday. It might happen again, only this time at home. The scheduled game for Week 15 against the Carolina Panthers will be played on either Saturday, Dec. 18 or Sunday, Dec. 19. It’s one of five games the league will select from to be moved. They can flex up to three of them to Saturday. The other games in consideration are:

1.) New York Jets at Miami Dolphins
2.) Washington Football Team at Philadelphia Eagles
3.) Las Vegas Raiders at Cleveland Browns
4.) New England Patriots at Indianapolis Colts

9.) Strange sight

In Week 2, the Bills will play the Dolphins in South Florida. Due to cross-scheduling rules the league and its television partners now have, the game will air on FOX instead of in its usual CBS spot.

10.) Falcons finally in town

Due to playing in Toronto in 2013, the last time they played a "road" game against the Bills, the Atlanta Falcons have gone the longest of any NFL team without playing a game at (what is now) Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park. That drought will end when they visit the Bills on Jan. 2, 2022. The last time the Falcons played in Orchard Park was in 2005. Michael Vick was their starting quarterback.

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