NFL Preseason Schedule Released: Grading Buffalo Bills Matchups by Game
While the preseason won't tell us too terribly much about the upcoming season, it's always interesting to watch new rookies get their first NFL snaps or see position battles take place.
Buffalo is certainly champing at the bit to get on the field and start playing football. We'll see how the team responds to each game on their preseason schedule before the regular season is finally upon us.
I've graded each game along with a "What to Watch For" and analysis segment—here come the 2012 Bills.
Game 1: Buffalo Bills vs. Washington Redskins
What to watch for: Bills fans will get the first look at newly-minted NFLer Robert Griffin III (assuming the Redskins pick him), along with the opportunity to see Mario Williams in his first Buffalo game.
Analysis: I graded this game down if only because the Redskins don't have many exciting backups to watch, and the game will eventually become a contest between some combination of John Beck and Rex Grossman vs. Tyler Thigpen.
I'm sure that a lot of Buffalo fans are excited to get the first look at Griffin, though, and just getting back to football in the first place helps keep this game with a respectable grade.
Game 2: Buffalo Bills @ Minnesota Vikings
What to watch for: Assuming that Matt Kalil is a Viking and Riley Reiff is a Bill, two rookie offensive tackles will face their first huge task in containing Mario Williams and Jared Allen, respectively.
Analysis: I wanted to put this game in the low "C" range, but Bills fans will be able to concentrate on how Riley Reiff can control the blindside rush on Ryan Fitzpatrick.
While Christian Ponder is not exactly Mr. Excitement under center, Vikings backup quarterback Joe Webb is a lot of fun to watch and could make for some solid entertainment later in the ballgame.
Game 3: Buffalo Bills vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
What to Watch For: The Steelers have lost a ton of players this offseason, but the team signed entertaining quarterback Troy Smith back in January, and he should be a good watch in this game.
Analysis: With all of their losses, the Steelers may not be a terribly fun team to watch. Without too many players left on their defense, Ryan Fitzpatrick could have a big day.
The Bills will be in full swing at this point and you can look for the big-name players like Fitzpatrick, Fred Jackson and Stevie Johnson to get their first almost-full-game action.
Game 4: Buffalo Bills @ Detroit Lions
What to Watch For: The offensive line faces a true test with Detroit's formidable front four (or five, depending on Jim Schwartz's prerogative). Watch out for a special opportunity to view one of the best wide receivers in the game live as Calvin Johnson, along with Matthew Stafford, aim to light up the board.
Analysis: The Bills and Lions match up against one another in game four of the preseason, pitting two young, on-the-rise teams against one another.
There's really no better final tune-up for the season than for the Bills, who are a frequent preseason opponent of Detroit (11th straight preseason matchup), to take on the Lions as the two teams are finally both competitive.
Buffalo should have a nice preseason slate of games, facing four solid defenses as their offense will be tested early and often.
The team features a new-look cast of Mario Williams and Mark Anderson along their defensive line, which will be exciting to watch against passers like Matthew Stafford and Ben Roethlisberger.
Look for the Bills to apply the pressure early and often on defense while playing a high-powered vertical attack on offense.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Eli Nachmany for NFL news and perspective on Twitter @EliNachmany