Inside The Bills

Bills rank high in recent draft value history

Posted by Chris Brown on April 26, 2016 – 1:19 pm

Whether it’s draft pick value over the past three years or the past five years, the Bills are one of the few teams in the NFL who sit above the trend line. Though it hasn’t translated into playoff football yet, that is a good thing. Sooner or later their successful draft practices will allow the Bills to reap rewards.

According to Rotoworld’s examination of the past five years of drafting by NFL clubs and the past three years of drafting, the Bills are one of a handful of teams that exceeds the average in terms of the average value per pick made.

Here was Rotoworld’s assessment of Buffalo’s recent draft history.

The teams that appear above both trend lines are Carolina, Minnesota, Buffalo, Dallas, Tampa Bay, Arizona, San Diego and the Rams. Even squeezing the time frame down to the past three years, Carolina still maintains the top spot in terms of AV per pick while making the fewest amount of total draft picks.

It’s hard to say that a team that hasn’t made the postseason since 1999 has been doing anything positive, but the Bills have done well in selecting viable NFL players.  Even with the selection of E.J. Manuel, Sammy Watkins,Stephon Gilmore and Marcell Dareus were the other first round picks made by Buffalo over the past five years and are arguably in the top tier of their respective positions. While Cordy Glenn, Preston Brown, Aaron Williams and Nigel Bradham aren’t yearly Pro Bowlers, they have played noteworthy ancillary roles for the team.

The club that trended the highest over the past five years was Seattle thanks to the drafting that landed them Russell Wilson, Bruce Irvin, Russell Okung and Bobby Wagner among others. However, over the last three years Green Bay prevails as the team with the best average value per draft pick made.


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Mayock: Have to be 3-down LB to go high

Posted by Chris Brown on April 25, 2016 – 2:22 pm

With the passing game growing with each passing year in the NFL the demand on defensive players has shifted in terms of priorities and that can negatively impact players at the second level in particular.

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock believes there will be some linebacker prospects, who lacking the necessary coverage skills, will see their draft stock drop as a result.

“The NFL has been evolving the last four or five years more closely paralleling the development of college football,” Mayock said. “There’s been a blurring between the safety position and the outside linebacker. They’re almost becoming often the same kind of guy, fitting the same type of role.

“Then the inside linebacker, talk about an off the line, inside linebacker typically playing one or two downs. So the role has been diminished. Unless you’ve got a guy like Luke Kuechly. If you’ve got Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis, now you’ve got a different conversation, but because of nickel and dime packages, the role of the inside linebacker has evolved. So in a lot of cases, unless the guy can play on third down, his value has moved down.”

One of the most debated ILB prospects is Alabama’s Reggie Ragland. There are some clubs that believe he can play all three downs and handle certain coverage responsibilities, while others see him as a two-down prospect.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Pro-style QBs exist in 2016 class

Posted by Chris Brown on April 25, 2016 – 1:44 pm

Anyone who follows college football is wholly familiar with the explosion of spread offenses. It’s put a lot of NFL talent evaluators in a bind when it comes to projecting college QBs to the pro game knowing they’re not asked to do a lot of the same things at the position. But this spring there is at least a handful of quarterback prospects who ran pro-style systems in college.

ESPN Scouts Inc.’s Kevin Weidl broke down some of the more notable pro-style QBs in this year’s class.

“I think this is one of the deeper quarterback classes that we’ve seen, and there’s a lot of size who translate to the NFL level well,” said Weidl. “Pocket passers and guys that have come from pro-style systems. It’s getting more and more of these spread quarterbacks, but this year there are more of the Connor Cooks, Jacoby Brissetts, Brandon Allen from Arkansas, Kevin Hogan from Stanford, who have played in pro-style systems making pro-style reads and working from under center. That can give a prospect an advantage in terms of how quickly they can develop when they go to the NFL level.”

We profiled Connor Cook in particular with respect to his pro-style experience in Michigan State’s offense.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Defensive players favored in Predict the Pick contest

Posted by buffalobills.com on April 25, 2016 – 12:43 pm

Bills fans,

Don’t miss your opportunity to predict who you think the Bills will select first in the 2016 NFL Draft!

predict-the-pick-story

Defensive players have been heavy favorites in the contest so far. Those who top the list include, Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee, Mississippi defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche and Clemson defensive lineman Shaq Lawson. Other common picks include Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland, and  Alabama defensive lineman Jarran Reed.

The Predict the Pick contest, presented  by M&T Bank, will remain open until Wednesday, April 27 at 11:59 p.m. Enter now for your chance to meet Buffalo’s first pick!


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U.S. Appeals court reinstates Brady suspension

Posted by Chris Brown on April 25, 2016 – 11:53 am

Per multiple reports a U.S. Appeals court has reinstated the NFL’s four-game suspension of New England Patriots QB Tom Brady for his alleged role in Deflate-gate. The ruling is not exactly a surprise as the court appeared to be leaning in favor of the league based on lines of questioning during initial proceedings.

The suspension was originally to be served by Brady for the first four games of the 2015 season for his alleged role in Deflate-gate when the majority of New England footballs used in the AFC title game against Indianapolis in January of 2015 were below the required air pressure under the rules of the game.

At this point if the suspension is in fact served in full starting with the first week of the season, the Bills would presumably not face Brady since Buffalo and New England square off in Week 4 this fall.

Most legal analysts believe this is the end of the road in the way of appeals for Brady to challenge the rulings in this case.


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Kiper-McShay mock goes DL, WR, DL for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on April 22, 2016 – 2:46 pm

ESPN has found just about every way to put a mock draft together. This time they’ve got Mel Kiper and Todd McShay alternating picks through the first three rounds. Here’s who they’ve mocked to Buffalo at 19.

19. Buffalo Bills

Mel Kiper’s pick: Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson

I’m a little bit surprised Lawson is still here. Not sure what Todd is thinking by not grabbing him for the Lions. Mario Williams won’t exactly be missed from a production standpoint, but the Bills need a pass-rusher, and this guy led college football in tackles for loss last year.

In round two, again it was Kiper making the pick for Buffalo.

49. Buffalo Bills

Mel Kiper’s pick: Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State

Thomas has strong hands and a big frame; he can take some pressure off my clear No. 1.

McShay finally makes a pick in round three for Buffalo.

80. Buffalo Bills

Todd McShay’s pick: Maliek Collins, DT, Nebraska

After getting Lawson in Round 1, it’s time to address the interior of our D-line. Collins flashes the first-step quickness to penetrate and disrupt.


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Fan Friday 4-22

Posted by Chris Brown on April 22, 2016 – 12:46 pm

The last Fan Friday before the 2016 NFL draft. Let’s get right to your questions from email at AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter at @ChrisBrownBills.

1 – @ChrisBrownBills Are there any areas of concern that we’re overlooking when it comes to the roster? DL and QB are always talked about.

Jordan Hanson @iamthelegenddd

CB: If you’re looking for hidden needs so to speak I think OT, CB and safety are areas that could use some reinforcements. At tackle and safety you don’t know for sure what the future holds for Seantrel Henderson with his health condition and Aaron Williams in his comeback from a neck injury.

Jordan Mills re-signed, but has a one-year contract. So investing at offensive tackle would make sense.

Williams said himself he won’t know for sure if he can continue his playing career until he starts hitting in training camp. Adding a safety even later in the draft would be advisable to cover the organization in a worst case scenario with Williams.

Cornerback might be a position that draws eye rolls from fans, but with the loss of Leodis McKelvin and Ron Brooks, depth is an issue there even though they signed Corey White in free agency. So there is a good argument to add there as well.
2 – @ChrisBrownBills Are the top 3 picks most likely DL, LB, and QB on some order? #FanFriday

NFL Predictor @PredictingNFL

CB: While there is no debate that the Bills want to add to their talent base in the front seven on defense and have made no secret that they need to add a quarterback, to just blindly say those are likely to be their top three picks is foolhardy. The reason why is there’s no way to know what will be sitting on the board when they’re on the clock in any of the first three rounds.

What if there’s an early run on defensive linemen? Do they take one of the top four offensive tackles in round one? They could. What if some cornerback slips to them in round two, who they have with a first round grade? They would take him.

There are simply too many variables to say they’ll address these three positions in the first three rounds. In a perfect world that would be a very logical thought, but as you know that’s not how the draft works.

If the value isn’t right Doug Whaley is not going to force a pick at a need position, plain and simple.

 

3 – @ChrisBrownBills what would your reaction be to Darron Lee going 19?

James @jarbarian9

CB: I’d be very happy with that pick at 19. Lee is the new wave of linebacker teams need in the NFL. I think as long as your defensive scheme has a way to protect a linebacker like Lee from getting covered up you can maximize his playmaking value. He’d be a very solid pick there at a position that needs an influx of talent. Whether he’s still be on the board will be the big question.

 

4 – @ChrisBrownBills curious about this so called infatuation the bills have with Kevin Hogan, is there any truth to that and why?

Matt @mattgolden03

CB: I think people are reading way too much into what Doug Whaley said about Hogan about a month ago. Yes, he stated that he thought Hogan would be one of the most pro ready quarterbacks in the class. That is probably true. He played in a pro-style offense, ran a good number of plays from under center and had progressions that he had to read after the snap. Those three things alone will be completely new to most of this year’s quarterback prospects.

Now does that mean the Bills see him as a fit? Not necessarily.

My personal opinion is Hogan is not a fit for Buffalo. After watching him throw at the NFL combine he doesn’t appear to have the arm strength necessary to play in Greg Roman offense that likes to exploit defenses with over the top throws, usually to the boundary. The weather, most notably the wind in Ralph Wilson Stadium would also present a problem.

 

5 – Chris,

What Inside LB’s would be a fit for the Bills scheme in the draft. Do they need a more athletic  player next to Preston? Cravens from USC looks to be a great fit. What other names should we look for?

Josh

CB: Darron Lee is listed as an outside linebacker, but I think he could play the WILL inside. The question is whether he’ll still be on the board at 19. Most mock drafters don’t think so, but I’m hopeful. Cravens is even smaller than Lee, which worries me a bit in terms of being a linebacker fit.

I like Josh Perry a lot, Lee’s teammate at Ohio State, though he probably goes in round 2 or 3. He’s not quite as athletic as Lee, but man is he a reliable, consistent player. West Virginia’s Nick Kwiatkoski is another ILB to consider late on day two or early day three.


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Kiper: Cardale Jones needs a lot of time

Posted by Chris Brown on April 21, 2016 – 3:21 pm

He’s 11-0 as a starter, but he lost his starting job in 2015. That is the enigma that is the physically gifted Cardale Jones. The Ohio State quarterback is one of the biggest mysteries in the 2016 NFL draft, and ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper thinks the team that drafts has only one course of action in making the most of his talent.

“I think he needs a lot of time,” said Kiper. “I think you need to invest three full years in him. I asked Mark Brunell about this and he said in three years he was ready and by year four he was really ready. Think about Aaron Rodgers and those four years. I think Cardale Jones needs three full years to sit, watch, and learn.

“He’s 6’5 250 pounds. He’s got huge hands. He’s got the strong arm. He’s athletic. He can run. Think about last year with three games late in the year he would’ve been a second round pick I believe. Now going back, did it hurt him? Yes, in a round perspective, but in the long run it might help him. Yes he lost the job and now he might be a fourth or fifth round pick. He’ll be off the radar with a chance to develop and in three or four years , with the right quarterback coach, the right offense, and the right situation, maybe he can prosper down the road.”

How much of a project does Kiper think Jones is? In his opinion he doesn’t even think he can be a backup as a rookie.

“If you’re asking him to be a back up quarterback, fill a back up role and show a lot of promise, it ain’t going to happen,” he said. “You’ve got to understand what you’re dealing with here being a raw and undeveloped quarterback with limited starts and go from there. We’ll know a lot on draft day with what team he goes to and where he goes as to what opportunity he’ll have.”


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Whaley: QB class runs deep

Posted by Chris Brown on April 21, 2016 – 11:06 am

The general consensus on the 2016 NFL draft is that there are just two franchise caliber quarterbacks in this year’s class. Fortunately for Buffalo they don’t need a prospect that is starting caliber now, but one that could potentially develop into one. As Bills GM Doug Whaley sees it, QB prospects of that ilk run deep into the fifth or sixth round this year.

“I think it does. I’m really excited about that,” said Whaley in an appearance on the John Murphy Show. “These guys will definitely come in and push to be a number two. Maybe they tap out as a number two, but sometimes there are a couple of guys who come through and start performing like number ones. We’re excited about the depth at the quarterback position and since it’s a position of need for us.”

Whaley reiterated in the team’s pre-draft luncheon Wednesday that Tyrod Taylor is Buffalo’s starting quarterback no matter who they might draft or when next week.


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Bills to begin draft related calls next week

Posted by Chris Brown on April 20, 2016 – 4:36 pm

The Bills were reported to be one of the teams that talked with the Browns about their No. 2 overall pick in the draft, which was traded to Philadelphia today (Wednesday). Buffalo GM Doug Whaley refuted that claim and laid out the timeline as to when they as a team begin making inquiries with other clubs about what may or may not be on the table during the NFL draft.

“It is true that we haven’t started making any calls yet,” said Whaley. “We will start that next week, beginning of next week. But I think with our history in the draft and in the league people know we are open to do anything.”

Whaley did say that it would be “more intriguing” for them to move back than move up in the round one knowing they’ve got to add numbers to their roster. Moving back if the right value isn’t there would provide the Bills presumably with more draft choices.

Buffalo’s Pro Personnel Director Rob Hanrahan will be the one reaching out to the other NFL clubs.

“He’ll have contact with all the pro people of the other teams and then we’ll reach out to them and try to just see who’s on the trading block, what teams are thinking about moving up, moving down, so when we’re getting closer to the pick, we can start anticipating some calls.”

 


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Bills finalize 2016 preseason schedule

Posted by buffalobills.com on April 20, 2016 – 1:28 pm

The Buffalo Bills today announced that the team’s preseason matchup with the Washington Redskins will take place in Washington on August 26th with kickoff set for 7:30 PM.

With the announcement of the Bills-Redskins game, the Bills full 2016 schedule has been finalized.

preseason-schedule-image

For complete schedule details click here.


Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills GM optimistic on Glenn, Gilmore futures

Posted by Chris Brown on April 20, 2016 – 11:44 am

Bills GM Doug Whaley is immersed in draft preparations with it sitting just a week away on the calendar. But it hasn’t kept him from staying abreast of where things sit with two key players on their roster. Cordy Glenn has signed his franchise tender and Stephon Gilmore is in the last year of his rookie deal after Buffalo picked up his fifth-year option. The next step is getting the two players locked up with long term extensions.

When that will happen is anyone’s guess, but Whaley in an appearance on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 feels the Glenn and Gilmore camps have a mutual understanding with the Bills.

“I look at it this way. I’m more optimistic than pessimistic,” said Whaley. “We have until July 15th with Cordy, we have until whenever with Stephon, but I’m more optimistic than pessimistic. We all start with the same viewpoint that we want to get a deal done so we’re on the same page there.”


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Whaley: open to move up or down draft board

Posted by Chris Brown on April 20, 2016 – 11:40 am

Bills GM Doug Whaley is one who likes to keep his options open when it comes to the opportunity to make a trade with another NFL club during the NFL draft. The case is no different this spring.

In an interview with Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Whaley said he’s open to making a move up or down the draft board if the right opportunity comes about and the right player is there for the taking.

“I look at it this way, we’ve shown in the past we’re willing to do anything,” said Whaley.

Much has been made of the reports that the Cleveland Browns are looking to move out of the number two overall pick. Whaley didn’t rule out a move from 19 up to 2 if they felt a deal made sense and there was a player worthy.

“If we believe that player is worthy of what we’d have to give up to pick up the number two spot in the draft we’ve shown in the past we’re not averse to doing it,” he said.

Those are some big ifs and the latest reports indicate that Philadelphia at 8th overall is the team working the hardest to broker a deal with Cleveland. Still, armed with a couple of extra compensatory picks in rounds four and six, the Bills feel good about making use of their regular picks if necessary to make a move if they deem it to be a move that will improve their talent pool.

“We do feel comfortable with the two compensatory picks that does give you some flexibility to move up if we see someone that we feel is necessary to make such a move,” said Whaley.

A move down would also seem possible especially if a couple of Buffalo’s anticipated options at 19 are off the board by the time they’re on the clock.

 


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Taylor’s focus in the right place

Posted by Chris Brown on April 19, 2016 – 1:22 pm

It’s typical of team leaders. They know where their focus should be to best benefit the team. While the media focuses on the Bills QB being in the last year of his contract, Tyrod Taylor’s focus is right where he believes it should be, on improving his personal game and being a more vocal leader.

“Continue to be better as a player,” said Taylor of his focus. “Lead, like I said earlier. Having a year under your belt and going out there as a starter gives you more responsibility. Got to be a little bit more vocal at times. Guys are going to be looking to you at times in the heat of the moment. So you have to go out there and show that you can go out there and handle those moments.”

Taylor also wants to help the unit improve their execution on third down and in the red zone where they ranked a disappointing 21st and 24th last season.


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Jets kicking tires on free agent QB Hoyer

Posted by Chris Brown on April 19, 2016 – 8:46 am

The Jets are still at an impasse with free agent QB Ryan Fitzpatrick on terms of a contract extension, so they’re taking a look at the quarterback who ultimately replaced him following his year in Houston.

According to ProFootballTalk, the Jets are hosting QB Brian Hoyer for a free agent visit today (Tuesday). Hoyer, just released by the Texans, wound up replacing Fitzpatrick after a disastrous year at quarterback for the Texans following their trade of Fitzpatrick to the Jets.

There is speculation that the Hoyer visit is just posturing by the Jets to get Fitzpatrick to move off his contract demand numbers. Ironically, Houston has been part of the problem all along with Fitz’s contract demands as their mega-contract for free agent Brock Osweiler last month (4 yrs. $72M) after he made just seven career starts has turned the market value for second tier quarterbacks on its ear.

Now Houston may have also provided the Jets with a stop gap solution for 2016 in the form of Hoyer.


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Rex optimistic about Aaron

Posted by Chris Brown on April 18, 2016 – 4:36 pm

There is no guarantee in NFL football for any player, and Aaron Williams got a dose of that reality last season with his neck injury that cost him all but three games in 2015. But now with a clean bill of health Williams is optimistic about his future playing career and so is his head coach.

“I am optimistic,” said Rex Ryan of Williams future. “Aaron is not even on our offseason surgery list because he had surgery during the season. Aaron is ready to go. We feel confident in it. I don’t think he’ll truly be 100 percent or be the Aaron Williams we know until he hits somebody. He’s done everything else. He even did some scout team work as the season went on for us last year. We know he’s ready, but he’s still go to get over that first contact, but we feel very confident that he’ll be ready.”


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Incognito reflects on his past one last time

Posted by Chris Brown on April 18, 2016 – 4:32 pm

Bills G Richie Incognito made it plain that he wanted to return to Buffalo and re-sign with the club provided the deal was right. With his new deal put to bed last month, Incognito reflected on last time on his road back to the NFL after an 18-month exile.

“I found myself looking back on it this morning,” said Incognito. “I was real excited to get in the building and be around the guys. Eighteen months ago I didn’t have that. I was sitting on my couch and training on my own. To be back here today where I’m at now, it’s another milestone in this journey and another chapter that begins. I’m very excited to be around (Eric) Wood, Shady (McCoy), Tyrod (Taylor) and those guys on defense, Marcell (Dareus), Jerry (Hughes) and earning their respect and being out here to compete with them. It’s a huge honor for me and what motivates me every day.”

Incognito reclaimed his status earning a Pro Bowl nod last season, but is committed to constantly try to sharpen his game.

“I think just having a beginner’s mentality,” he said. “Being able to reflect on where I’ve come from and what put me in a position to succeed. That’s just coming in and grinding and working as hard as I can and doing everything I can to repeat and improve on the performance I had last year.”


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Rex outlines Bills offseason surgeries

Posted by Chris Brown on April 18, 2016 – 1:10 pm

Here’s a rundown of the Bills player list for offseason surgeries per head coach Rex Ryan.

Ronald Darby – hernia – cleared to participate
Marcell Dareus – foot – cleared to participate
Marcus Easley – knee
Stephon Gilmore – shoulder
Jerry Hughes – wrist
Kyle Williams – knee
Robert Woods – groin – cleared to participate
Jarius Wynn – knee – cleared to participate


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Bills release CB Cam Thomas

Posted by Chris Brown on April 18, 2016 – 11:41 am

The Bills parted ways with CB Cam Thomas on Monday. The cornerback was placed on the Reserve/PUP list not long after last summer’s training camp concluded and never suited up for Buffalo in 2015.

He was originally signed by the Bills as an undrafted rookie last spring out of Western Kentucky.


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Bills in top 10 in new metric strength of schedule

Posted by Chris Brown on April 18, 2016 – 9:38 am

For years strength of schedule has been calculated based on an opponent’s record the season prior. As we all know with NFL roster turnover averaging anywhere from 25-30 percent from one year to the next, it’s a foolhardy method. The number crunchers at Sharp Football Analysis have put together a more comprehensive formula. They’ve found that the Bills rank in the top 10 in strength of schedule for 2016.

Buffalo has the ninth-toughest schedule according to their calculations, which is rooted in forecasted records for a team’s opponents rather than prior-year records. Their analysis uses the betting market to help predict Strength of Schedule. Here’s a full list of their findings.

1. San Francisco 49ers
2. New York Jets
3. Atlanta Falcons
4. Washington Redskins
5. Los Angeles Rams
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
7. New Orleans Saints
8. Minnesota Vikings
9. Buffalo Bills
10. Houston Texans
11. Denver Broncos
12. Philadelphia Eagles
13. Cleveland Browns
14. Jacksonville Jaguars
15. Detroit Lions
16. Miami Dolphins
17. Tennessee Titans
18. Oakland Raiders
18. San Diego Chargers
20. Indianapolis Colts
21. Seattle Seahawks
22. Arizona Cardinals
23. New England Patriots
24. Chicago Bears
25. Kansas City Chiefs
26. Baltimore Ravens
27. Cincinnati Bengals
28. Green Bay Packers
29. Carolina Panthers
30. Pittsburgh Steelers
31. New York Giants
32. Dallas Cowboys

The Bills were also calculated to have one of the worst four week stretches of games in the league this season, with their first four games being the quarter of the season referenced.

Worst First Month:

1. Jets: vs CIN, @ BUF, @ KC, vs SEA
2. 49ers: vs LA, @ CAR, @ SEA, vs DAL
3. Bills: @ BAL, vs NYJ, vs ARI, @ NE
4. Broncos: vs CAR, vs IND, @ CIN, @ TB
5. Dolphins: @ SEA, @ NE, vs CLE, @ CIN

Fortunately the Bills were also determined to have one of the easiest final months of the season.

Easiest Last Month:

32. Panthers: vs SD, @ WAS, vs ATL, @ TB
31. Steelers: @ BUF, @ CIN, vs BAL, vs CLE
30. Bills: vs PIT, vs CLE, vs MIA, @ NYJ
29. Chiefs: vs OAK, vs TEN, vs DEN, @ SD
28. Cowboys: @ NYG, vs TB, vs DET, @ PHI


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