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[BN] Blitz newsletter: Here's one look at a potential Bills schedule

Buffalo Bills General Manager Brandon Beane and coach Sean McDermott spoke Monday at the team's pre-draft news conference, and players will be available at noon Tuesday while the Bills have their first voluntary workout of the offseason.

But first, we get to our reader question of the day. You can leave questions in the comments section below.

Rick McGuire asks: With the Bills making the playoffs last season, they should be a lock to play in at least one prime-time game this year. With the 2018 NFL schedule due to be released soon, how many prime-time games do you think they'll be chosen for (home/away) and who might their opponents be?

Jay Skurski's answer: Remember that every team gets one prime-time appearance with "Thursday Night Football." So let’s set the over/under on Bills games under the lights this season at 1.5. I’m with Rick in that I’ll take the over. For starters, the team is coming off a playoff appearance. That should count for something.

The bigger draw for me, though, comes from the possibility – or likelihood – that the team will draft a quarterback in the first round. Obviously, that question won’t be answered until after the schedule is done, but there’s been enough smoke around the possibility for the league to take a leap of faith that the Bills will add one of the marquee quarterbacks in the draft. Can’t you just see ESPN hyping up Baker Mayfield or Josh Allen – even if they’re not in the game?

As for home or away, the Bills have a complicated history with prime-time games at New Era Field. Let’s not forget that back in 2012, a fan who was ejected during the team’s game against Miami was later found dead.

It’s unfair to the majority of fans who enjoy tailgating responsibly, but it feels like only a matter of time before one of the jumping-through-tables crowd suffers a serious injury. There is enough of that for 1 p.m. starts – imagine how much there could be with a full day of pregame festivities (read: drinking heavily).

The Bills’ official Twitter account questioned the NFL on why the team didn’t have any home prime-time games last season. If the team does indeed get two prime-time games this year, it’s a good bet at least one of them will be in Orchard Park.

As for opponents, one of those Thursday games will likely be against the Jets or Dolphins, as has been the case in recent years. As for the other game, it’s anyone’s guess, but how about a playoff rematch against the Jaguars?

In fact, let’s just go ahead and project out the entire schedule. Everyone loves mock drafts – so mock schedules can’t be far behind.

Week 1, 7 p.m. Sept. 10 – at New England

The Bills open on "Monday Night Football" against the defending AFC champions. Leodis McKelvin will surely be watching with great interest.

Week 2, 1 p.m. Sept. 16 – vs. Tennessee

The home opener is always a great weekend for fans. It’s an important game, too, against an AFC playoff team in 2017.

Week 3, 1 p.m. Sept. 23 – vs. Chicago

The NFC crossover division this season is the North. The Bills went 2-2 against the South last year.

Week 4, 1 p.m. Sept. 30 – at Green Bay

Purely selfish reasons on my part. I’m excited to see Lambeau Field, but don’t want to do it in December.

Week 5, 8:30 p.m. Oct. 4 – vs. N.Y. Jets

The annual Thursday Night matchup with the Jets. Will two rookie quarterbacks be starting?

Week 6, 1 p.m. Oct. 14 – vs. L.A. Chargers

Homecoming, sort of, for Anthony Lynn. The Bills get their wish with a front-loaded home schedule.

Week 7, 1 p.m. Oct. 21 – at Indianapolis

Will Andrew Luck be back in the lineup for the Colts by this point?

Week 8: Bye

Another selfish choice. Late October sounds like a good time for a vacation in Florida.

Week 9, 1 p.m. Nov. 4 – at Houston

The Bills will get a look at what they could have had with quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Week 10: vs. Detroit

We have to put this game somewhere.

Week 11: at Minnesota

The Vikings look like NFC contenders with quarterback Kirk Cousins. This won’t be an easy game no matter when it falls on the schedule.

Week 12: at N.Y. Jets

This wraps up four road games over a five-game stretch, with a bye week in there. That would be tough.

Week 13: 1 p.m. Dec. 2 – vs. Miami

The Bills get their wish – the Dolphins travel north in December.

Week 14: 1 p.m. Dec. 9 – at Baltimore

Keep an eye on the Ravens as a sneaky option to trade up for a quarterback. Joe Flacco has been bad for a while now.

Week 15: 1 p.m. Dec. 16 – vs. Jacksonville

Already looking forward to the Doug Marrone conference call.

Week 16: 1 p.m. Dec. 23 – at Miami

Selfish decision No. 3 – South Beach in December sounds nice.

Week 17, 1 p.m. Dec. 30, vs. New England

The season starts and ends with the Patriots.

There you have it. Book your travel now – or wait until Thursday when the real schedule comes out.

* * *

The highlight of Monday's press conference was ... Brandon Beane's declaration that the draft can still be a success even if the Bills don't land a franchise quarterback. I know a lot Bills fans would disagree with that, but hear me out: I think that's an answer Beane had to give. Admitting he'd fail by not getting a quarterback would hurt his bargaining position for a tradeup.

One thing Beane didn't want to talk about was ... Richie Incognito. Both he and McDermott seemed to be trying their hardest not to roll their eyes at the situation. But Beane said the losses of Eric Wood and Incognito don't impact Bills' draft plans. Here is the complete transcript of the interview.


Bucky Gleason: Bucky's takeaway from Monday's press conference: "My advice to fans: Brace yourselves for a bumpy ride."

Fred makes it official: Fred Jackson, the fan-favorite running back, will sign his one-day deal to retire as a Bill on Wednesday. The News first reported the move last week.

Pre-draft visits: Beane said he has met with all the top quarterback prospects. That includes Wyoming's Josh Allen, who reportedly visited the team Monday. Alabama LB Rashaan Evans also reportedly visited.

Zay update: Zay Jones made it onto the field for the first day of the Bills' voluntary workouts. "We did have some communication with Zay when we got back and to this point, we are satisfied with where that is," McDermott said, referencing the wide receiver's bizarre arrest last month in Los Angeles.

Bills add WR depth: The Bills added WR Jeremy Kerley and DT Tenny Palepoi on Monday, signing both to one-year contracts. The Bills also formally announced the signings of exclusive-rights free agents Nick O'Leary, Logan Thomas, Lafayette Pitts and Eddie Yarbrough.

Five things to know: Amazingly, Jeremy Kerley once blamed a PED suspension on ghosts. Palepoi was college teammates with new defensive tackle Star Lotulelei.

NFL Draft Preview: Safety: Here are the top 10 safeties and where the Bills stand at the position. McDermott did a solid job with this unit in Year 1.

PB gets paid: Former Bills linebacker Preston Brown has an unusually large workout bonus with the Bengals. But why make it a signing bonus when you can make a new player come to voluntary workouts to get it?

Gronk skips workout: Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, however, appeared to show his displeasure with his contract situation by skipping the first day of voluntary workouts.

Daily Drive Podcast: Any interest in Dez Bryant?

Guest column: Bills' Reid Ferguson on amazing impact of trip inside prison

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