Inside The Bills

Wood on the challenge a short week presents

Posted by Chris Brown on October 30, 2017 – 10:57 am

It’s a short, compressed week for the Bills to not only prepare for the Jets, but to travel and allow their bodies to physically recover. Most players will tell you a week this short doesn’t allow the body to completely recover from the physical demands of Sunday’s game, but everyone has to do their best.

“You’ve got to get your body back—quick recovery,” said Eric Wood. “Everything has to speed up as far as preparation goes. A lot of time spent at home studying as well as at the building. It’s tough on players and coaches, but the way I look at it, it’s a chance for us to play in prime time which we don’t do a ton. I’m looking forward to it.”


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All 32 teams may not play Thurs. night in 2017

Posted by Chris Brown on February 2, 2017 – 9:32 am

In his annual Super Bowl press conference, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked about the future of Thursday Night football. While ratings are strong and statistics show there are actually fewer injuries in Thursday night games than Sunday games. Where a change could happen is not having all 32 clubs on the Thursday night schedule in a given season.


“Thursday Night Football is something that we are very committed to,” Goodell said. “We put all 32 teams on there.  That’s something we did. We are thinking about whether we re-evaluate that and maybe don’t have quite the number of teams and maybe even change the staggering of our Thursday night games so you have consecutive games on CBS, consecutive games on the NFL Network and then consecutive games on NBC. We’ve heard from our fans a great deal, ‘Where is the game? We want to know where the game is.’ So we are going to look at all of that, and continue to work on something that we think has gotten off to an incredible start and we are very optimistic about the future on that.”

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Bills coaches benefit from early Thursday game

Posted by Chris Brown on April 15, 2016 – 8:58 am

The Thursday night game for the Bills in Week 2 is their home opener on their 2016 schedule. On a short week the benefit is the Jets, their opponent on Thursday night, is a familiar opponent. But there is another major benefit for Buffalo’s coaching staff in having a game on a short week that early in the season.

NFL coaching staffs always begin preparing for their Week 1 opponent as early as three weeks prior to the opener. Seeing that Thursday night game sitting just four days later on the schedule in Week 2, so Buffalo’s coaching staff will also put together at least some of their game plan for the Jets before the season even starts.

“That’s exactly when we’ll do it,” said Bills head coach Rex Ryan in an appearance on the John Murphy Show Thursday night. “We’re very familiar with them. They haven’t had any major staff changes, but yes we’ll be getting some work on them in the preseason. Baltimore is a physical team and then you’ve got to turn around on a short week and play the Jets, another physical team on a short week. So we’ve got to be up for that.”

It’s a much more favorable situation for Rex Ryan’s staff to have the extra time to prepare for a short week heading into the season than a Thursday night game in Week 8 when they’ve got to burn the midnight oil to get a full game plan in.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Turnovers why Bills have had Jets number

Posted by Chris Brown on November 13, 2015 – 11:34 am

On Thursday Night Football the Bills made it four in a row over the Jets thanks largely to turnovers, something that’s become a common thread in Buffalo’s win streak against their AFC East rival.

The Bills won the turnover battle Thursday night by a count of 4-0, despite the fact that the Jets came into the game a plus-7 in turnover margin, which was tied for the AFC lead. But the situation has been just the opposite in New York’s last four meetings with Buffalo.

In the last four games between the Bills and Jets, Buffalo has won the turnover margin by a count of 15-0. Those 15 takeaways by the Bills is a large reason why Buffalo has outscored New York in the last four meetings 140 to 57.

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McCoy likes playing on Thursday nights

Posted by Chris Brown on November 12, 2015 – 8:41 am

His injured shoulder might disagree, but one of Buffalo’s playmakers has been awfully productive in Thursday night games.

RB LeSean McCoy has played in four Thursday night games in his career and his production has been downright impressive. In those four career Thursday games, McCoy averages 145 scrimmage yards per game and has six total touchdowns (four rushing, two receiving). McCoy aims for his fifth straight game on Thursday with a touchdown against the Jets.

Here are LeSean McCoy’s career numbers on Thursday:

4 445 135 580 6

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Some interesting facts on the Bills 2015 slate

Posted by Chris Brown on April 21, 2015 – 8:11 pm

The Bills schedule has some exciting matchups this fall, with some big name QBs in early, back-to-back primetime games against division opponents and a run through almost the entire NFC East in a month. Here are some of the more noteworthy items. 

1 – Champs in early
Buffalo opens the season against a division champion (Indy-AFC South) followed by the Super Bowl champion (New England). The good news is Rex Ryan is 5-1 in home openers as a head coach. 

2 – If you can’t beat ’em…
Between Week 3 and Week 10 the Bills have seven games with six coming against non-playoff clubs from 2014. Cincinnati is the only postseason qualifier they’ll see in that span as the other six clubs (Miami twice) had a combined record of 23-57. 

3 – Familiar primetime faces
The Bills primetime games are not only back-to-back, but represent the first time Buffalo has more than one primetime game on their schedule since 2009. They had two primetime games that season and they were against the same two division opponents that season as they are for 2015 (New York and New England). 

4 –  AFC East Express
Coming off of their Week 8 bye the Bills better be well rested because they’ll have three straight games against division opponents and they’ll do it in rapid succession. With Buffalo playing Miami in Week 9, followed by a Thursday night game against New York in Week 10 and a Monday night game at New England in Week 1, the Bills will have three division games in the span of 15 days. 

5 – Road warriors
The Bills better get used to hotel beds come November and December. Over the six weeks of games from Week 10 to Week 15, Buffalo will have five of those six games on the road, including three straight at New York, New England and Kansas City. 

6 – Good for ground and pound
As the weather turns in the second half of the season the Bills anticipated ground and pound offensive approach could be a perfect fit for the venues on the schedule late in the year. Six of Buffalo’s last eight games take place north of the Mason-Dixon line, with the other two in Washington and Kansas City. 

7 – NFC rinse and repeat
Buffalo knew they were facing the NFC East as their cross conference division in 2015. They probably didn’t think they’d face three of those four teams in consecutive weeks. Aside from their matchup with the Giants in Week 4, Buffalo will square off against Philadelphia, Washington and Dallas in successive weeks from Week 14-16.

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Extra days have helped Jets vs. Bills before

Posted by Chris Brown on November 20, 2014 – 3:59 pm

We noted in this very blog in the past about how the Jets have benefited from extra time and rest in advance of playing the Bills in the past. In both 2011 and 2013 the Jets faced the Bills with 10 days prep coming off a Thursday night game and two weeks prep off their bye week in those two seasons. This year the NFL may have done its best job yet of giving Buffalo a favorable schedule when it came to opponents coming off a short week or coming off their bye. This week was going to be somewhat of a wash between the two teams with the Bills having 10 days to prepare for the Jets coming off their Thursday night game while the Jets came off their bye. That all changed with the lake effect snowstorm this week that shattered all snowfall record totals in Orchard Park and neighboring suburbs as well as the city of Buffalo.

Now heading into Friday with the Bills yet to rep plays on a practice field the Jets clearly have an edge in terms of prep time heading into the game. And under Rex Ryan New York has fared well against the Bills in those situations.

In 2011 when the Jets came off their bye to face the Bills they beat Buffalo at Ralph Wilson Stadium 27-11. They also won coming off their Thursday night game at MetLife Stadium 28-24. New York avoided the series sweep in 2013 with the Jets again the beneficiaries of a bye prior to their meeting with Buffalo and a Thursday night game prior to their other meeting with the Bills.

Last year the Jets won coming off their Thursday night game at home 27-20, but the Bills, thanks mainly to four turnovers, throttled the Jets who were coming off their bye 37-14 at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Still, Ryan has a 3-2 mark against Buffalo when coming off a bye or Thursday night game. This year the Bills beat the Jets with New York coming off their Thursday night game prior to their first meeting in 2014.

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Bills primetime record even on Thurs. night

Posted by Chris Brown on November 13, 2014 – 8:23 am

The Bills have played 67 times in their history in primetime, with the majority coming on Sunday and Monday nights knowing those primetime slots have been around the longest in the NFL. Tonight in Miami will only be the seventh time Buffalo plays on Thursday night, and their record there has been dead even.

The Bills are 3-3 on Thursday nights with one of those victories coming at the hands of the Dolphins 19-14 back in the 2012 season.

Here are Buffalo’s primetime records on Saturday night, Sunday night and Monday night as well.

Saturday night – 1-1
Sunday night – 10-9
Monday night – 17-23

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Marrone pleased with players on short week

Posted by Chris Brown on November 12, 2014 – 12:24 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone was a bit concerned about how his players would rally physically on a short week coming off a hard fought game against the Chiefs last Sunday. But heading into their final day of practice this week before their Thursday night game with Miami, Buffalo’s sideline boss is pleased with what the players have given him on the practice field.

In his weekly Coffee with the Coach segment, presented by Tim Horton’s, Marrone was encouraged by the tempo at which the players performed in Tuesday’s practice.

“I think one of the things we caught a break on was with the weather on Tuesday,” said Marrone. “It was outstanding so we were able to get outside and we practiced a lot faster than I thought we’d be able to and that’s good because now we can back off a bit here on Wednesday and slow it down. We’ve got to make sure that they’re rested up because we’re now at a point where we’re within 48 hours in the game.”

Marrone’s Coffee with the Coach segment will appear in its entirety on Thursday morning.

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Half of Bills division games vs. rested foes

Posted by Chris Brown on June 19, 2013 – 9:30 am

As we profiled on 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.

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NFL scheduling does Bills, Falcons no favors

Posted by Chris Brown on June 19, 2013 – 8:38 am

While we all realize the perfect NFL schedule is almost impossible to achieve, it’s hard to think that a league that is typically ahead of the curve doesn’t realize how much this year’s NFL schedule is slanted against the Bills and Falcons.

To fully lay out all the schedule disadvantaged clubs that we profiled on the home page of, here’s the comprehensive list that we compiled in terms of the number of teams each club has to face coming more than a week of rest either via a Thursday night game the week prior or a bye week for 2013.

Teams that play against 5 teams with extra rest

Teams that play against 4 teams with extra rest

Teams that play against 3 teams with extra rest
Arizona, Carolina, NY Giants, Oakland, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay

Teams that play against 2 teams with extra rest
Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Houston, NY Jets, San Diego

Teams that play one team with extra rest
Baltimore, Cincinnati, Dallas, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Miami, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tennessee, Washington

Teams that play no teams with extra rest
Kansas City, New England and technically New Orleans

(New Orleans plays Seattle off their bye week, but the Saints are coming off a Thursday night game that same week giving Seattle only three more days to prepare than New Orleans instead of a week)

Teams whose bye weeks were nullified or compromised
Buffalo, Houston, Indianapolis, Seattle – Houston and Indy have same bye week then play the following week.

Buffalo’s bye compromised by Atlanta getting 10-day break same week due to Thursday night game.
Same with Seattle prior to their aforementioned meeting with New Orleans.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Don’t look for complex game plan

Posted by Chris Brown on November 15, 2012 – 2:30 pm

NFL game plans are relatively complex each and every week, but with very limited time to prepare for a Thursday night game both Chan Gailey and Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin have admitted that their approach both offensively and defensively will be pretty basic.

“You have to stay somewhat basic in this ball game for that very reason,” Gailey told “You don’t have the time to spend. You don’t have the film study time, the practice reps. You don’t have the ability to look at something time after time to get it down.”

Gailey said due to limited practice time the team probably went through one-third the amount of reps they execute in a typical practice week.

Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said at the beginning of the week he told his coordinators that whatever they have that needs to be repped repeatedly in practice to ensure it’s executed properly in the game should be tossed out because there won’t be time to rep it sufficiently.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Another quirk to Bills 2012 slate

Posted by Chris Brown on June 4, 2012 – 3:21 pm

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.

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No bye prior to Thurs. nighter

Posted by Chris Brown on April 17, 2012 – 7:05 pm

In recent years the NFL has often scheduled a bye week for teams playing in Thursday night games. But with the Thursday night schedule expanded to 13 games this season to run from Weeks 2 through 15 apparently not everyone could be accommodated and the Bills are one of the teams on the short end of the stick.

After playing on the road at New England in Week 10 (Sun. Nov. 11th) they have to travel home and get ready for their primetime home game against the Miami Dolphins four days later.

It’s bad enough they have to play two games in five days, but to make one of them a road game, and to make both games in the five-day span division games didn’t do the Bills any favors at all.

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Bills to play primetime game in ’12

Posted by Chris Brown on February 3, 2012 – 12:03 pm

The Buffalo Bills will be playing one of their 16 games in 2012 in primetime with the strong likelihood of being on a Thursday night.

That according to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who during his annual league address at the Super Bowl in Indianapolis announced an expansion of the league’s Thursday night football schedule.

“We have eight games currently on the NFL Network schedule and we’re going to expand that to 13 games starting in the 2012 season,” said Goodell. “We’re going to be playing Thursday night games from Week 2 through Week 15. This will result in every team appearing on a Thursday football game and every team having a primetime appearance throughout the season. We think it’s great for the fans and great for the teams to have that primetime exposure and great for the Network.” 

That means 26 of the 32 NFL clubs will appear on the Thursday night schedule during the 2012 regular season along with the two that appear on Thursday night kickoff weekend in Week 1 on NBC which makes 28. Presumably the four that do not will appear either on Sunday or Monday night during the regular season. The 2012 NFL schedule will be released in mid-April.

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