The Patriots lost to the Chiefs in Thursday night's NFL season kickoff, 42-27, and the Dolphins' Week One game was postponed due to Hurricane Irma, so that means Sunday's Bills-Jets game will be for first place in the AFC East.
But that doesn't mean it will be pretty.
"With both clubs operating with greater focus on the future rather than the present, the present is largely in the hands of players who either lack the experience or talent (or both) to generate a whole lot of success," Vic Carucci wrote in his 5 Things to Know about the game.
So where do News writers see the Bills finishing in 2017? That answer is here, in the 2017 News Staff predictions.
Sound smart at work: Some of the main talking points from the Patriots loss include: Former Bills RB Mike Gillislee rushing for three touchdowns in his Patriots debut, broadcaster Al Michaels taking a jab at the Bills for all their ex-players on the Patriots, the fact that we won't have to hear about the Patriots potentially going 16-0 all year, former Bill Stephon Gilmore appearing to get beat on a long touchdown (although it may not have been his fault), Chiefs rookie RB Kareem Hunt setting the record for most yards from scrimmage in a player's first game (246), and Chiefs star safety Eric Berry suffering an Achilles injury, which could be important since the Bills own the Chiefs' first draft pick. Reggie Ragland was inactive for the Chiefs.
Shady could get paid, again: The Bills reportedly added incentives to running back LeSean McCoy's contract Thursday that could be worth up to $2.5 million. For context, that's more than Gillislee's entire contract would've cost.
McCoy was a limited participant in Thursday's practice due to an illness, while Marcell Dareus (hip) was full-go.
Bills WRs believe in themselves: OK, so Sammy Watkins is gone and Anquan Boldin left. The Bills' receiving corp still thinks it has the goods.
"I know for a fact that Zay [Jones] is one of the most polished rookies I’ve been around," Jordan Matthews said.
The Bills' mixed-up lockers are on purpose: The Bills locker room has a strange design, but players from the same position group were generally situated next to each other under Rex Ryan. That changed this year, with the new seating arrangements seeming random. Coach Sean McDermott said that is by design, to give players a chance to interact with teammates they may not normally talk to.
"How do you really care about someone if you don’t really know them?" he said. "It’s important that we get to know one another off the field and that love that we’re building off the field, the goal in this case is that it transitions to on the field and how we play.”
Mailbag: You have Bills questions, Jay Skurski has answers. Who's the Bills 'deep threat? Why do they always have so many tight ends? (Actually, they don't.)
Quotes: Hear what McDermott and Matthews had to say at Thursday's news conferences.
Start 'em, sit 'em: Need a fantasy QB to replace Jameis Winston this week? Fantasy analyst Michael Leone recommends the Vikings' Sam Bradford. More advice here.
Jets are bad, but not without studs: Just because the Jets are expected to have the worst record in the league doesn't mean they lack any star players. Get to know some of their studs in this statistical breakdown, including Leonard Williams, Muhammad Wilkerson and Darron Lee.
The Jets' blitzing, though ... that's no joke, Mark Gaughan wrote in his X's and O's, which includes a chart of coach Todd Bowles' rankings in blitzes sent the last four years: First, second, third and first. Yikes.
"New York has ranked among the top six in the NFL in stopping the run four straight years," Gaughan added. "Any defense that has the run under control can start dictating terms to the opposing offense."
2017 primer: If you need to get caught up for the 2017 season, head to Jay Skurski's Quick Outs. I forgot the league cut overtime down to 10 minutes.
Podcast: Vic Carucci and Jay Skurski are back with the [BN] Blitz podcast, which hit on topics such as: Is Bills-Jets really the Tank Bowl? Is McCoy ready for the workload? Has Tyrod Taylor improved? Will the new defensive scheme work? Run time is about 40 minutes.
Tweet of the day: From Bills lineman Jerel Worthy:
At least we got to see my dawg Gilmore on tv tho 🤷🏾♂️😂
— Jerel Worthy (@I_AM_Worthy99) September 8, 2017