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Pollock on the Buffalo Bills’ schedule: An early disappointment and an late break

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A column by Sun Senior Sports Columnist CHUCK POLLOCK

There was a time, in the not-too-distant past, that the National Football League released its schedule with little-or-no fanfare.

No more.

These days, the NFL presents the schedule in prime time on its own network. But there also has to be a tease … or three, or four.

First, this week, it was revealed that two-time Super Bowl champion Kansas City would host the Ravens in the season opener, Thursday night, Sept. 5. Then came the news that the Jets would play at San Francisco in the Monday Night inaugural Sept. 9, followed by the announcement the Chiefs would play in Pittsburgh on Christmas afternoon. And, finally, as a shout-out to Bills Nation, the revelation that Buffalo would travel to Miami Gardens in the Week 2 on Thursday night, Sept. 12. 

If you wanted to get your team’s schedule you had to find your speed-reading and stenographer skills as the slate flew across the screen in a crawl early in the show.

Instead, the NFL Network threw a bone to its game carriers in the three-hour broadcast. Appearing for their respective outlets were Joe Buck (ESPN, Monday Night Football) Mike Tirico (NBC, Sunday Night Football), Kevin Burkhardt (Fox), Jim Nantz (CBS), Al Michaels (Thursday night Prime Video)  and Rich Eisen, the schedule-release host (NFL Network game) all raving about the fabulous schedules they had been bequeathed by the league.

IT’S DOUBTFUL there were many declarations of appreciation coming from Orchard Park once the Bills administration and coaching staff got a look at Buffalo’s 2024 schedule.

As expected, coach Sean McDermott’s team got the anticipated five prime-time games, second only to the six assigned to Kansas City, San Francisco and the Jets.

Besides the Thursday nighter at Miami in Week 2, the Bills have Monday nighters with Jacksonville (home, Sept. 23 and at the Jets Oct. 14) , they’re at Baltimore, Sunday night Sept. 29 and home against San Francisco, Sunday night Dec. 1.

In addition, Game 17 at New England will be either Jan. 4 or 5  and a likely national telecast. The Bills have seven 1 p.m. Sunday starts: home with Arizona in the opener, at Houston, home with Tennessee and Miami, at Indianapolis, home against the Pats and Jets and the possibility of Jan. 5 in Foxboro if the game is meaningless. In addition, the games at Seattle and at Los Angeles (Rams) in effect are in the early (1 o’clock) local window.

But here’s the frustration from Buffalo’s hierarchy.

The Bills have a brutal stretch of three consecutive road games in a span of 15 days: at Baltimore, Sunday night, Sept. 29, at Houston Sunday afternoon Oct, 6 and at the Jets, Monday night Oct. 14.

However, Buffalo also got a break as it has a bye between hosting the Chiefs Nov. 17 and entertaining San Francisco, Sunday night Dec. 1. It’s also likely McDermott loves the fact the 49ers, Pats and Jets are visiting Highmark Stadium in December.

For the record, Las Vegas’ over/under for Bills’ wins is 10.5 this season. After looking at Buffalo’s opponents and before the schedule was released I predicted 10-7 … and I’m sticking with it.

(Chuck Pollock, a Wellsville Sun senior sports columnist, can be reached at cpollock@wnynet.net.)

Read more from Chuck:

John Murphy left a legacy in broadcasting for the Buffalo Bills

• Beane assesses the Bills’ draft picks

• A look at the first three picks by the Bills

• Will the Bills regret trading out of the first round?

• A look at the Buffalo Bills going into the NFL draft

• Pollock on the Bonnies and the need for a defensive lineman in the NFL draft for the Bills

• O.J. Simpson left a mixed legacy … in the wrong order

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