As we profiled on Buffalobills.com Wednesday, Buffalo and Atlanta are the only two clubs with four or more games against opponents coming off of extra rest the week before. The Bills and Falcons also hold the dubious distinction of another scheduling disadvantage.
Buffalo and Atlanta are also the only two teams that have two or more of their division games among those in which they face an opponent off extra rest. Here’s how it lays out.
Teams who face three division opponents off extra rest
Buffalo – NYJ twice, Miami
Teams who face two division opponents off extra rest
Atlanta – Tampa, Carolina
There is no other club in the league that faces more than one opponent off extra rest that is a division rival. Knowing these games count double and are instrumental to playoff aspiration, knowing a division title gives a team an automatic postseason bid, the league should regulate and prohibit division games from being scheduled on a week following an extended layoff by one of those division clubs via a bye week or Thursday night game the week prior.
Buffalo experienced that first hand on back-to-back weeks in 2012. After playing New England following a bye week for the Patriots on the road, Buffalo had to turn around and play another division opponent off four days rest on the following Thursday night. It has to change.
Tags: 2013 schedule, bye weeks, Thursday night football
Posted in Inside the Bills
As disappointing as it was to hear that the Bills have to play the Patriots on the road before hosting another important division game just five days later, there’s another issue with respect to extra preparation time for their upcoming opponents during the heart of their 2012 schedule.
I can’t take credit for uncovering this. A Bills fan, who only goes by the initials B.H. emailed me this eye-opening schedule quirk between Weeks 6 and 10 of this season’s schedule. After checking myself it’s legit.
After playing what is expected to be a physical contest with the 49ers in San Francisco in Week 5, the Bills then face the Cardinals in Arizona in Week 6. The Cards will have the benefit of three extra days of prep time for Buffalo as their Week 5 game is on Thursday night.
The very next week when the Bills play host to Tennessee, the Titans will also have three extra days of prep time for Buffalo because they’re playing on Thursday night the previous week (Week 6) as well.
The Bills look to get a break as they’ll have a bye week in Week 8 to get two weeks to prep for the Texans in Houston. But that extra prep time will be a wash because Houston also has their bye in Week 8.
Finally while the Bills are battling the Texans in Houston, the Patriots will be on their couches watching at home while their head coach grinds tape for two weeks to prepare for the Bills who travel to New England in Week 10 as the Pats have their bye in Week 9.
That’s followed by a second division game in five days against Miami on Thursday night in Buffalo.
The only advantage Buffalo will have in terms of extra preparation all season will be the extra three days coming off that Thursday night game with Miami to play Indianapolis 10 days later… on the road.
Tags: 2012 Bills schedule, bye weeks, Thursday night football
Posted in Inside the Bills
Alright Bills fans, four games to go and playoffs are unfortunately looking to be off the table as I’ll explain below. The offseason questions I’ve been putting off the past month or so are now free to be submitted to AskChris@bills.nfl.net since we’ll be dealing with those issues sooner than any of us had hoped.
1 – Hey Chris,
I’m just wondering if the Bills win some these games do you think they can get back in the hunt?
CB: Unfortunately it’s pretty unlikely. The AFC East division title is a lost cause with New England at 9-3. At 5-7 the Bills are not mathematically eliminated, but three teams ahead of them for the Wild Card, Jets (7-5), Titans (7-5) and Bengals (7-5) are all teams that beat the Bills in head-to-head matchups. So were they somehow able to pull even with any of those teams they would lose out on tiebreaker. It’s really a shame how this all unfolded after Week 8.
2 – Chris,
Can you break down Justin’s development during the season? People liked him in the draft and now he is starting to play. His size to be an issue, but in the long term could he ever start? McGee was also small. He has looked good in the nickel and has gotten time over Corner and Leodis. Could he “bulk” up and be a starting corner or is he boxed in being a situational DB.
CB: Rogers is an athletic, speedy, quick cutting cornerback that is best suited for work in the slot. Ideally he’ll play at 190 pounds and retain that weight through the season, something he’s had trouble doing this season. All rookies struggle with that.
McGee isn’t tall, but he was thickly built (208 lbs), which enabled him to be physical with receivers and in run support. Rogers isn’t afraid to get in on the action, but he’s admitted he has to get stronger.
He’s a smart, heady player that anticipates well and recognizes time and score in games. Secondary coach George Catavolos thought he could be the surprise of the draft class. I think there’s another level or two for Rogers to reach. As he fills out and gets stronger in his first NFL offseason of training he’ll be better equipped to muscle up on receivers when necessary, but I hesitate to say he can be a full time boundary corner. I think we all need to see more.
3 – Hi Chris,
With Fred Jackson on IR what happens to his contract negotiations? Assuming he fully recovers from his injury, it would be good to go into next season with that issue settled.
Also, any update on Steve Johnson’s contract? I would think that his value may have dropped after the Jets game.
CB: I suppose Jackson’s injury could impact contract negotiations in terms of length of a new deal. NFL clubs are always leery of handing a long term deal to running backs that are 30-years old or older. Fred is 30 now. The big money handed to Shaun Alexander in Seattle, only to see his production plummet gives every NFL team pause when it comes to re-signing a back to a long term deal. What seems to be understood is that Jackson has outperformed his contract and needs to be more properly compensated.
As for Stevie Johnson it sounds as if the two sides will address the issue in the offseason. I’m not so sure that the Jets game hurt his value. Yes, the touchdown antics were a sign of immaturity, but no other NFL receiver has scored a TD on Darrelle Revis and no other receiver has eight catches on him. 11 catches for 159 yards and a touchdown in two games on Darrelle Revis is production you’d like to have on your team knowing you’re facing the Jets twice a season. I don’t know who else on Buffalo’s roster or in the league for that matter is capable of doing that.
4 – With George out, Merriman, Kyle, Wood, Lindell & Freddy on IR, Who are the leaders in the locker room. It looks to me that it is Barnett on Defense and David Nelson on O
Steve in Corning
CB: On defense you’ve got it, it’s Barnett, but with George back he’ll certainly help in that area. On offense it’s Fitz all the way.
5 – Chris,
I think this season turned around 180 degrees after the first Jets game. Rex Ryan’s “D” seemed to provide the blueprint for defending the Bills timing-pass attack, and Buffalo has yet to rebound. My beef is this: the Jets had the benefit of the bye week to prepare for Buffalo.
Chris, divisional games are far too important for a division rival to have an extra week of preparation for us. Remember when the Patriots recently had a streak of 4 or 5 seasons where they had their bye to prepare for the Bills? That’s just not a level playing field. Is this something that the NFL Competition Committee could look at changing down the road? Have you ever heard of coaches or GMs agreeing with me on this? I just really feel that teams should not have their bye week scheduled before a divisional contest ( unless BOTH teams involved have the bye that week ).
CB: I think your point is very valid. Division games are too important to saddle one team with a bye week edge over the other. Knowing they cluster teams during a span of eight weeks they could certainly bye an entire division in a given week and then match the four of them up in a pair of division games coming off the bye. That would seem to be the simplest solution. Even if the schedule would not allow a pair of division matchups coming off the bye just make sure no one faces a division opponent off an extra week of rest.
I haven’t heard of coaches or GMs discussing it much, but I’ll bring it up to Buddy Nix and see what his thoughts are on it. Those games are too important and any coach would tell you the extra week of prep helps.
Tags: bye weeks, Fan Friday, Fred Jackson, George Wilson, Justin Rogers, Nick Barnett, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Stevie Johnson
Posted in Inside the Bills