BUFFALO, N.Y. [WKBW] — Remember the days when the Buffalo Bills would be the only team that wouldn't get prime-time love? Those days are now over and it's a safe bet that the Bills will be in the spotlight plenty in 2021.
But what games make the most sense for the big stage? We already know the opponents and locations, so let's take a crack at predicting some of the more anticipated games for the Bills in 2021 and which games will be played in prime-time.
Texans @ Bills
With uncertainty about Deshaun Watson's future in Houston and JJ Watt in Arizona, this may be the least appealing game on the Bills schedule. It sure seems like this will be a Sunday afternoon kickoff if you ask me.
Bills @ Jaguars
Perhaps this game will be played in London. But whatever continent this game is played on, this won't move the meter for casual fans that don't support the Bills or Jags.
Panthers @ Bills
This will be a revenge game for half the Bills roster but that doesn't mean it makes sense for prime-time.
Falcons @ Bills:
Do the Falcons move the meter like they did a few years ago? Probably not. Like their division rival in Carolina, this matchup seems like a prime candidate for a 1:00 p.m. kickoff at Highmark Stadium, or whatever we're calling it these days.
Bills @ Jets
Jets @ Bills
As always, the Bills will match up with the Jets twice this season. The New York market makes these games hard to predict. Will Zach Wilson catapult the Jets into the national audience a few times in 2021? If he does, maybe the Bills will be the opponent for one of those games. I think it's a longshot but with the Jets, who the heck knows.
It could happen:
Bills @ Dolphins
Brian Flores had the Dolphins on the verge of playoff contention in 2020. Chances are, they'll be competitive once again, which makes them one of the more attractive options to be put in prime-time. Besides, it feels like Bills @ Dolphins is the perfect candidate for a Thursday night game.
Bills @ Patriots
Buffalo has played prime-time games in Foxborough the last two seasons. I think that streak will end this season, but maybe the league will make it a prime-time turkey.
Bills @ Saints
If Drew Brees was still playing, this would be a more exciting matchup. But with Brees calling it quits, I'm not sure how much prime-time love the Saints will get. I'd bet they're still showcased three or so times, I just think they have games that make more sense for the national audience than the Bills.
These sound fun:
Colts @ Bills
The last time these two teams met things went down to the wire. All the storylines are there for a compelling matchup. Neither Buffalo or Indianapolis are considered big markets so this is far from a lock, but it makes a lot of sense.
Washington Football Team @ Bills
We all deserve one more chance to watch Ryan Fitzpatrick throw the pigskin around under the lights in Orchard Park. Washington should be a good team so this could be fun, regardless of when the game is played.
Bills @ Titans
Watch over the Bills fans who make the trip to go to this game and spend the entire day on Broadway. If you're going, I recommend Tootsies. I will not be taking further questions at this time.
Dolphins @ Bills
As previously mentioned, the Dolphins won't be sneaking up on anyone this season. If these two teams meet in prime-time, which they certainly could, I'll give the tie to the Bills since they won the division last season.
Patriots @ Bills
The last time the Patriots came to Orchard Park for a prime-time game, Derek Anderson was the Bills' starting quarterback. I'm very confident the Bills and Patriots will get a prime-time game in 2021 and with the last two match-ups getting played in New England, it should be Buffalo's turn to host the Pats.
Steelers @ Bills
For the past two seasons, these teams have met on Sunday Night Football and both games were relatively close. It just seems like this is the perfect matchup for two teams with passionate fanbases separated by only a few hours. Besides, the Bills will get at least one prime-time game at home and this seems like the most appealing matchup to a national audience.
Bills @ Buccaneers
Will this be the first game of the 2021 NFL season? There is certainly an argument to be made that the Bills deserve to be the Bucs opponent when they raise their Super Bowl banner on Thursday, September 9. The NFL usually likes starting the season with a bang and the Bills were the best team of the Bucs home opponents in 2021. Admittedly, I think the league will start the year with the Cowboys and Bucs as Dak Prescott returns but I'm sure the Bills are in the conversation.
Bills @ Chiefs
This just screams Sunday Night Football. Josh Allen gets his shot at redemption as the Bills try and prove they can be the team to dethrone the Chiefs. Quite frankly, I think this would be a perfect way for the league to start the season on Sunday Night Football. But a game this big might make the most sense in the middle of the season so we can spend weeks talking about it. Of the games on the list, this is the biggest lock, at least in my opinion.
So there you have it. Remember, in 2020 the Bills had four scheduled prime-time games when the schedule was first released. That jumped to six games because their meeting with the Broncos was flexed and their match-up with the Titans was played on a Tuesday night. I'm expecting at least four prime-time games but won't be surprised if they get five or six. Let the speculating begin!