2014 Buffalo Bills Schedule: Full Listing of Dates, Times and TV Info

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistApril 23, 2014

Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel looks for a receiver during the first half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013.(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Phelan M. Ebenhack

The Buffalo Bills finished 2013 with a 6-10 record for the third season in a row, marking 14 consecutive years without a playoff appearance. They will hope that the young roster can turn things around in 2014 to deliver a much-needed postseason berth in the city of Buffalo.

Buffalo lost a key contributor on the defense as All-Pro safety Jairus Byrd signed a six-year deal with the New Orleans Saints. However, the organization added linebackers Brandon Spikes and Keith Rivers and defensive back Corey Graham to help out against the run and the pass.

Defensively, the Bills were successful in 2013 under defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. However, Pettine is now the head coach of the Cleveland Browns, and the team replaced him with former Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz.

The Bills boast a dangerous rushing attack to pair with an improving EJ Manuel at quarterbackwho battled knee injuries last season and missed valuable reps. After trading for wide receiver Mike Williams and signing free-agent guard Chris Williams, the offense should be good enough to compete with the best in the NFL.

The question is whether the team can survive a relatively tough schedule and finally be able to post a winning record. Here is a look at the complete slate of games in 2014:

2014 Buffalo Bills Regular-Season Schedule
WeekDateOpponentTime (ET)TV
1Sept. 7at Chicago Bears1 p.m.Fox
2Sept. 14vs. Miami Dolphins1 p.m.CBS
3Sept. 21vs. San Diego Chargers1 p.m.CBS
4Sept. 28at Houston Texans1 p.m.CBS
5Oct. 5at Detroit Lions1 p.m.Fox
6Oct. 12vs. New England Patriots1 p.m.CBS
7Oct. 19vs. Minnesota Vikings1 p.m.Fox
8Oct. 26at New York Jets1 p.m.CBS
9Bye
10Nov. 9vs. Kansas City Chiefs1 p.m.CBS
11Nov. 13at Miami Dolphins8:25 p.m.NFLN
12Nov. 23vs. New York Jets1 p.m.CBS
13Nov. 30vs. Cleveland Browns1 p.m.CBS
14Dec. 7at Denver Broncos4:05 p.m.CBS
15Dec. 14vs. Green Bay Packers1 p.m.Fox
16Dec. 21at Oakland Raiders4:25 p.m.CBS
17Dec. 28at New England Patriots1 p.m.CBS
via NFL.com

 

Analysis

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 22: Running back C.J. Spiller #28 of the Buffalo Bills attempts to break free from defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis #93 and defensive end Quinton Coples #98 of the New York Jets during the second quarter in a game at MetLife
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Based on last year's records, the Bills' upcoming opponents had exactly a .500 winning percentage. According to ESPN, this rates as the 14th-toughest schedule in football.  

The good news is that some of the tougher games on the schedule will be played at home, where the Bills had a 4-4 record this past season. Teams like the Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings are known for their tough home-field advantages, but they will have to go to Buffalo this year.

Road contests against the Denver Broncos and Chicago Bears will be difficult, but those were going to be tough regardless of where the games were to be played.

This schedule and an improving team could certainly do what is necessary to post a winning record next season. Former star and Hall of Famer Bruce Smith had this to say about the team's future, via BuffaloBills.com:

I think the state of the Bills right now is that they’re heading in a positive direction. As this team grows together. As EJ Manuel gets more experience, I think they will be able to make a strong run to the playoffs, as early as next year.

One of the things that I found was very similar to back in ’87, we were losing a lot of games by 3 points or less. That’s what happened to the Bills this year. The next year we started winning those games by 3 points. Then the next year we started blowing teams out. If they can keep growing and keep adding players to the puzzle, good things will happen.

The schedule will be difficult, but it will not be impossible to finally sneak into the postseason next year and loosen the New England Patriots' grip on the AFC East.

 

Pivotal Matchups

Bill Wippert

At first glance, you would think the most difficult battles will be those against the Patriots. After all, the perennial contenders are once again expected to be a favorite to reach the Super Bowl.

On the other hand, Mike Rodak of ESPN.com notes that the division is closer than one would expect:

The Patriots hardly tore through the division last season, losing to the Dolphins and Jets on the road, while nearly dropping their season opener in Buffalo. But it's difficult to see the other three teams contending for a division title until their quarterbacks emerge as quality NFL starters. In Miami, Ryan Tannehill showed flashes last season. It's hard to predict much of anything season to season in the NFL, but I think the Dolphins are the closest to contending. The Jets and Bills are not that far behind.

However, the Bills need to set their sights lower. Instead of trying to dethrone the division champs, they should be looking at earning any postseason bid, and that comes from defeating the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins more consistently.

Buffalo surprisingly went 3-1 in these contests a year ago, and consistent winning against these clubs will help the Bills move up in the division standings.

If the Bills can take care of business against their division rivals and then win the games they should outside the division, they have a chance to find their way into the playoffs for the first time since 1999 and end the longest active playoff drought in the NFL.

 

Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.

Follow TheRobGoldberg on Twitter