The Buffalo Bills will open the preseason against an opponent coach Sean McDermott and General Manager Brandon Beane are very familiar with.
The Carolina Panthers will visit New Era Field in Week 1 of the preseason, on a date to be determined falling between Aug. 9-12, the Bills announced Wednesday, as the league's preseason schedule was released. McDermott, of course, was the Panthers' defensive coordinator before taking over as Buffalo's head coach last year, while Beane spent several years in various roles in the Carolina front office. The Bills, who have opened the preseason at home for four straight years, will meet Carolina in the preseason for the first time since 2015. The two teams met in Week 2 of the 2017 regular season in Carolina.
In Week 2, it will be another reunion as the Bills travel to Cleveland to face their former starting quarterback in Tyrod Taylor and the Browns. That game will be played between Aug. 16-19. It's also the first time since 2015 the Bills and Browns will play a preseason contest.
The Bills will make an appearance on national television in the third week of the preseason when they host the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 3 of the preseason. That game will be held at 4 p.m. Aug. 26 and air on FOX. Buffalo hasn't faced the Bengals in the preseason since 2010. The two teams have been closely linked going back to the end of the 2017 season, when the Bengals' last-minute win over the Ravens clinched a Buffalo playoff spot.
This offseason, the two teams have swung a trade, with the Bills sending left tackle Cordy Glenn to Cincinnati in exchange for the right to swap draft picks in the first round, with Buffalo moving up from No. 21 to No. 12. Former Bills linebacker Preston Brown also signed with his hometown Bengals, while Buffalo added former Cincinnati center Russell Bodine as a free agent.
In a change, the Bills close the preseason against the Chicago Bears on Aug. 30. This season will be the first time since 2001 that the Bills haven't faced the Detroit Lions in a preseason game, oftentimes in Week 4.