Breakdown: The Buffalo Bills are a team in transition. They claim they are not rebuilding and want to win now. However, Buffalo has significant changes at head coach, quarterback and offensive and defensive coordinator this upcoming season.
Fortunately for the Bills, they have the 26th-ranked strength of schedule, which is the easiest schedule in the AFC East. But Buffalo must get a lot of things together internally this offseason before it feels confident to succeed in the regular season. The biggest challenge will be settling the quarterback competition between veterans Kevin Kolb, Tarvaris Jackson and a potential top rookie draft pick.
Complaint department: I thought it was cruel of the NFL to give Buffalo rookie head coach Doug Marrone his first assignment against the New England Patriots in his first game. Marrone was hired from Syracuse and now has to match coaching strategies against Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. It is a chance for Marrone to make a huge statement in his NFL debut. But there is also the likelihood that the Marrone era could get off to a losing start in Week 1.
Not prime time: After the Bills made a splash in free agency last season and flopped, you had a feeling television networks would not have much interest in putting the Bills on in prime time this season. Buffalo has just one national game, against the Cleveland Browns, on Thursday, Oct. 3. The Bills have one of the most electric players in the NFL in tailback C.J. Spiller, but a national audience will get a chance to see Spiller just once this season.
Bills Regular-Season Schedule (All times Eastern)
Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 8, New England, 1 p.m.
Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 15, Carolina, 1 p.m.
Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 22, at NY Jets, 4:25 p.m.
Week 4: Sunday, Sept. 29, Baltimore, 1 p.m.
Week 5: Thursday, Oct. 3, at Cleveland, 8:25 p.m.
Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 13, Cincinnati, 1 p.m.
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 20, at Miami, 1 p.m.
Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 27, at New Orleans, 1 p.m.
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 3, Kansas City, 1 p.m.
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 10, at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 17, NY Jets, 1 p.m.
Week 12: BYE
Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 1, Atlanta, 4:05 p.m.
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 8, at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.
Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 15, at Jacksonville, 1 p.m.
Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 22, Miami, 1 p.m.
Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 29, at New England, 1 p.m.