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BILLS OPEN AT HOME VS. TEXANS
BRONOCS VISIT AT NIGHT FOR A GAME ON ESPN

The Buffalo Bills will open the 2005 season at home against the Houston Texans and will play a regular season night game at home for the first time in five years.

The Bills' schedule, released by the NFL today, includes an 8:30 p.m. game against the Denver Broncos on Dec. 17 at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN. It is the first home night game in Buffalo since the opener of the 2000 season.

The Bills play four of their first six games at home. After a Week Two road trip to Tampa, the Bills return home Sept. 25 for the first Orchard Park appearance by Atlanta QB Michael Vick.

Aside from the Denver game and a 4:15 game against the New York Jets on Oct. 16, the six other home games all are 1 p.m. starts.

This marks the fifth straight year the Bills will not appear on ABC's Monday Night Football.

The Bills will play seven of their 16 games against teams that made the playoffs last season. Besides New England (14-2), the New York Jets (10-6) and Atlanta (11-5), the other foes that made the postseason were San Diego (12-4) and Denver (10-6).

They will make two trips to the West Coast, including a visit to Oakland for the second straight year. Last year they had three West Coast trips.

It will be Kansas City's first visit to Buffalo since 1995 and Denver's first visit since 1997.

The NFL adopted a rotating schedule plan in 2002 that ensures each team will play non-division opponents within its own conference at least once every three years. Each AFC team plays each NFC team once every four years. This year the Bills and the AFC East face each team in the AFC West and NFC South.
e-mail: mgaughan@buffnews.com

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