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Bills play brunt of AFC East games in December

When it comes to facing the majority of teams in their division, the Buffalo Bills will have to be patient this season.

In the schedule announced by the NFL Thursday night, the Bills play four of their final five games against AFC East opponents.

In fact, after the Bills open the season against the New York Jets on Sept. 10 at New Era Field (the second time in three seasons they've opened at home), they must wait until Nov. 2 to face another divisional opponent, the Jets on Thursday Night Football at MetLife Stadium.

It is the Bills' lone prime-time appearance of the season. They beat the Jets at MetLife on a Thursday night in 2015.

New coach Sean McDermott will have a homecoming in Week Two, on Sept. 17, at Carolina. He spent the last six seasons as the Panthers' defensive coordinator.

The Bills' biggest stretch of AFC East games begins on Dec. 3, against the New England Patriots at New Era Field. That also kicks off a three-game home stand, marking the second year in a row that the Bills have three consecutive games at New Era Field in December.

The other two are against the Indianapolis Colts, on Dec. 10, and Miami Dolphins, on Dec. 17.

The Bills then travel to Foxborough, Mass., for a Christmas Eve encounter with the Patriots, and close the regular season on New Year's Eve against the Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium.

The Bills have a fairly challenging early portion of the schedule.

They play three of their first five games on the road: at Carolina on Sept. 17, at home against Denver on Sept. 24, at Atlanta on Oct. 1, and at Cincinnati on Oct. 8.

The Bills' bye comes in Week Six.

Their two longest trips are back-to-back, at the Los Angeles Chargers on Nov. 19 and at Kansas City on Nov. 16.

The Bills have won three of their last five games at Arrowhead, losing in their last game there in 2015. The game will mark McDermott's first clash with Andy Reid, his mentor with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Bills' complete preseason and regular-season schedules follow:

Thursday, Aug. 10 MINNESOTA VIKINGS 7:00 PM  
Thursday, Aug. 17 at Philadelphia Eagles 7:00 PM  
Saturday, Aug. 26 at Baltimore Ravens 7:00 PM  
Thursday, Aug. 31 DETROIT LIONS 7:00 PM  
Sunday, Sept. 10 NEW YORK JETS 1:00 PM
Sunday, Sept. 17 at Carolina Panthers 1:00 PM
Sunday, Sept. 24 DENVER BRONCOS 1:00 PM
Sunday, Oct. 1 at Atlanta Falcons 1:00 PM
Sunday, Oct. 8 at Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 PM
Sunday, Oct. 22 TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS 1:00 PM
Sunday, Oct. 29 OAKLAND RAIDERS 1:00 PM
Thursday, Nov. 2 at New York Jets 8:25 PM
Sunday, Nov. 12 NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 1:00 PM *
Sunday, Nov. 19 at Los Angeles Chargers 4:05 PM *
Sunday, Nov. 26 at Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 PM *
Sunday, Dec. 3 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 1:00 PM *
Sunday, Dec. 10 INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 1:00 PM *
Sunday, Dec. 17 MIAMI DOLPHINS 1:00 PM *
Sunday, Dec. 24 at New England Patriots 1:00 PM
Sunday, Dec. 31 at Miami Dolphins 1:00 PM *

*Eligible for flexible scheduling.

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