In two months we’ll be kicking off the 2019 National Football League season. Anticipation is palpable for players and fans alike. We’re ready for the season to begin. For the Buffalo Bills, the road looks easier than others.
Ranked as having the 24th easiest schedule, Buffalos 2019 opponents finished the 2018 season with a 48% winning percentage or 122-132-2 record. When comparing their opponents to those in the AFC East, it’s the second toughest behind only the Miami Dolphins, whose schedule ranks as the 18th toughest in the league.
Albeit an “easy” schedule, the NFL is an unpredictable beast. Teams get better throughout the offseason and those numbers are nothing but a talking point when the schedule releases in April.
Buffalo Bills 2019 season opponents
This season the Bills will face the NFC East, AFC North, Tennessee Titans, Denver Broncos, and, of course, their AFC East opponents. Far from an easy schedule looking from the outside in. Of their 16-game schedule, the following teams will give Buffalo the greatest test.
New England Patriots
Year-in and year-out, the New England Patriots are the toughest outing for any of the other 31 teams. Until Tom Brady and Bill Belichick aren’t under the same roof, it’ll be that way. Buffalo has been beaten up more by that duo than any other team since 2001, winning just four games over the past 18 seasons.
The Bills and Patriots face off in week four at Buffalo and again in week 16 in Foxborough where Buffalo has won just once, coming back in 2016 when the Bills made the postseason for the first time since 2000. Head coach Sean McDermott will hope success against New England leads to an AFC East title.
The Cleveland Browns, this year’s darling team, are a favorite to not only win their division but make a deep run in the playoffs. Considering the work general manager John Dorsey has done in Cleveland, it’s fair to say the expectations are warranted.
The likes of Baker Mayfield, Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham Jr., and Nick Chubb, just to name a few, will pose a solid mid-season test as the two teams are set to face off in Cleveland on Nov. 10. The biggest matchup of the day may be Myles Garrett facing off against Dion Dawkins. That is if they’re both still healthy.
There are questions around both teams. Are the Browns for real? Are the Bills a sleeper team? Both questions should be answered by this matchup.
The Philadelphia Eagles are a year and a half removed from their first Super Bowl victory and still one of the toughest teams in the NFL. The biggest question here: can quarterback Carson Wentz stay healthy?
Buffalo and Philadelphia don’t face off until week eight. By then, Wentz, if healthy, should be back up to playing MVP-caliber football, much like where he was in 2017. Pair him with additions such as DeSean Jackson, Jordan Howard, and Miles Sanders, on top of the weapons that were already there in Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffery, the Eagles offense will be one of the best this season.
However, the Bills defense looks like they could be one of the best as well. The matchup in Buffalo should be one of the better games of the season, and outside of New England will give Buffalo their biggest test of the year.
While the three previously-mentioned teams were highlighted for their offenses pairing against Buffalo’s defense, the Dallas Cowboys flip the script. And it all starts with the speed of their linebacking corps.
It didn’t take long for Leighton Vander Esch to become one of the best linebackers in the league. One year, to be exact. Pairing him with Jaylon Smith makes the pair one of the best duos in the league. And it might not be close.
Buffalo’s defense should be up to the task when it comes to handling Dak Prescott and Ezekial Elliott. It’ll be up to offensive coordinator Brian Daboll putting his offensive playmakers in place to beat the stingy Cowboys defense on Thanksgiving Day. Sure enough, we know how hungry new Bills and former Cowboys wide receiver Cole Beasley will be.
Tyler Olson is a writer for PFN covering the Buffalo Bills. You can follow him on Twitter @to2471.