Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

April 23, 2014

Are you ready for some football?

Once again, the conservative Buffalo Bills will not be a featured prime time nationally televised home team this coming season.

Staff & Wire Reports
The Associated Press


Once again, the conservative Buffalo Bills will not be a featured prime time nationally televised home team this coming season.
The Bills, currently suffering the longest playoff drought of any NFL franchise, are once again sticking to Sunday 1 p.m. game starts for most of the 2014 season, according to the National Football League schedule released on Wednesday.
The team's only marquee game is 8:25 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 13 at the Miami Dolphins. All of Buffalo's 2014 home games are 1 p.m. Sunday start times (see the breakout schedule). All of their away games are also 1 p.m. Sunday starts, with the exception of three, against the Dolphins, at the Denver Broncos (4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7); and at the Oakland Raiders (4:25 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 21).
The team has also opted not to play a “home” game in Toronto this season, after going 1-5 there over the last six years with low attendance, heavy criticism and dislike of the series by fans and even its own players.
The Bills will open their regular season at 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 7 at the Chicago Bears (FOX). The NFL's season opener the previous Thursday night (NBC) should be a doozy between the Green Bay Packers at the Super Bowl-champion Seattle Seahawks.
Two Monday Night Football games are also on tap in Week One, with the New York Giants playing at the Detroit Lions (7:10 p.m., ESPN), followed by the San Diego Chargers at the Arizona Cardinals (10:20 p.m., ESPN). See the breakout box for a list of MNF games.
Buffalo's Week 2 home opener is 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 14, against the Miami Dolphins. Next, the Bills host the San Diego Chargers then play at the Houston Texans (both CBS, 1 p.m. Sunday starts) in Weeks 3 and 4, rounding out their September slate.
In October, the Bills will play all 1 p.m. Sunday games, at Detroit (Oct. 5), home against the New England Patriots (Oct. 12) and Minnesota Vikings (Oct. 19), then in New Jersey (Oct. 26) to play the N.Y. Jets.
Buffalo follows with its bye week the first weekend in November — a month that features three home games. The Bills host the Kansas City Chiefs (Nov. 9), the Jets (Nov. 23) and the Cleveland Browns (Nov. 30).
A tough December schedule has the Bills playing at Denver on Dec. 7, hosting the Green Bay Packers (Dec. 14), then closing out the season on the road with games at the Oakland Raiders (Dec. 21) and New England (Dec. 28).
Opening Day marks the third straight season the Packers have traveled to face the defending Super Bowl champions.
"It's a tremendous opportunity for our football team," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "We have experience playing in the kickoff opener three years ago, and we will draw on that. Obviously, being the visiting team this time presents new challenges. It will help sharpen our focus even more during training camp and the preseason."
That Thursday game is the first of four prime-time games on opening weekend. Also at night will be a Sunday matchup of AFC champion Denver and Peyton Manning hosting his former team, Indianapolis.
The NFL will play three games in London: Dolphins-Raiders on Sept. 28; Lions-Falcons on Oct. 26; and Cowboys-Jaguars on Nov. 9. The Detroit-Atlanta game will kick off at 9:30 a.m. in an experiment to test the NFL's audience draw on a Sunday morning.
A Saturday doubleheader in Week 16 has San Diego at San Francisco and Philadelphia at Washington.
For the first time, games in Weeks 5 through 10 can be flexed from Sunday afternoon to night, with a limit of two. Beginning with Week 11, a Sunday game can be moved to prime time each week. Also, a select number of Sunday afternoon games are being "cross-flexed," moving between CBS and Fox to potentially draw more viewers.
The Thanksgiving tripleheader features three strong division rivalries: Chicago at Detroit, Philadelphia at Dallas, and Seattle at San Francisco, a rematch of the memorable NFC title game last January.
Looking for the latest installment of Manning vs. Tom Brady? The Patriots host it on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 2.
And for those looking for the rematch of the Super Bowl, Seattle's 43-8 rout of Denver, it's on Sept. 21 at Seattle. Denver opens the season against three 2013 playoff teams: Indianapolis and Kansas City at home, then at the Seahawks.
"I think when you look at it, we have to start fast," Broncos general manager John Elway said. "We knew it was going to be a tough schedule playing the NFC West, and when we finish first in our division like we have the past three years, it is always going to be a tough schedule with a lot of good football teams on it."
The last time Green Bay visited CenturyLink Field was in Week 3 of the 2012 season, a 14-12 Seahawks victory clinched on what now is often dubbed the "Fail Mary." Russell Wilson's desperation pass on the final play was called a touchdown reception for Golden Tate by the replacement officials.
A few days later, the lockout of the regular officials ended.
McCarthy wants no memories of that game.
"This game won't be about the past," he said. "It will be about the 2014 Green Bay Packers."
Bye weeks begin in Week 4 when Arizona, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Seattle and St. Louis are off. They end in Week 12 when Carolina and Pittsburgh are idle.
The season ends Dec. 28 with all divisional games.


Buffalo Bills
2014 Schedule
8/3     N.Y GIANTS*     8 p.m.
8/8     @ Carolina     7:30 p.m.
8/16     @ Pittsburgh     7:30 p.m.
8/23     TAMPA BAY     TBA
8/28     DETROIT     7 p.m.
* — Hall of Fame Game, Canton, Ohio
9/7     @ Chicago     1 p.m.
9/14     MIAMI     1 p.m.
9/21     SAN DIEGO     1 p.m.
9/28     @ Houston     1 p.m.
10/5     @ Detroit     1 p.m.
10/12     NEW ENGLAND     1 p.m.
10/19     MINNESOTA     1 p.m.
10/26     @ N.Y. Jets*     1 p.m.
11/2     BYE WEEK
11/9     KANSAS CITY     1 p.m.
11/13     @ Miami     8:25 p.m.
11/23     N.Y. JETS     1 p.m.
11/30     CLEVELAND     1 p.m.
12/7     @ Denver     4 p.m.
12/14     GREEN BAY     1 p.m.
12/21     @ Oakland     4:25 p.m.
12/28     @ New England     1 p.m.
* — Game is in East Rutherford, N.J.
(All games on ESPN) 9/8 — Giants @ Lions, Chargers @ Cardinals; 9/15 — Eagles @ Colts; 9/22 — Bears @ Jets; 9/29 — Patriots @ Chiefs; 10/6 — Seahawks @ Redskins; 10/13 — 49ers @ Rams; 10/20 — Texans @ Steelers; 10/27 — Redskins @ Cowboys; 11/3 — Colts @ Giants; 11/10 — Panthers @ Eagles; 11/17 — Steelers @ Titans; 11/24 — Ravens @ Saints; 12/1 — Dolphins @ Jets; 12/8 — Falcons @ Packers; 12/15 — Saints @ Bears; 12/22 — Broncos @ Bengals
11/27: 12:30 p.m. —Bears @ Lions (CBS); 4:30 p.m.— Eagles @ Cowboys (FOX); 8:30 p.m. — Seahawks @ 49ers (NBC)