It’s great to be a Bills fan these days, and the number seems to be growing not only in America but abroad as well. With the NFL pushing for expansion to Europe, the exposure of the Bills even on TV is creating new fans who’ve never even been to Buffalo. My son-in-law and daughter (and granddaughter!) live in Scotland, and they and many of their friends in North Berwick stay up ungodly hours to watch the Bills streaming video.
Before we get to Sunday Night’s NBC game against the Green Bay Packers at Highmark Stadium, it’s worth mentioning the Bills have finally released some specific renderings of the new stadium, scheduled to be ready for the 2026 season. The reaction has been mostly favorable, and to me it looks fabulous. It’ll be open air, not a dome as some hoped, and it will have a natural grass field. Awesome. With current underground heating systems the field should stay in good shape, and about 65% of fans will be under a covering. For those of you wondering how Nashville can afford a domed downtown stadium for the Titans, it’s really not a comparable situation. For the Bills it was never realistic to think dome or downtown, and the Titans proposed new dome will be nearly double the Bills expected $1.4 B tab.
The renderings hopefully end some recent speculation about the deadline delays on financing for the new Orchard Park playpen. Some of that could be due to the continued silence on the health of Terry Pegula’s wife and business partner Kim, and the longer we don’t hear anything the more concerning it is. The Pegulas are the sole reason the Bills are still in WNY and will be for generations to come. Keep the prayers going for Kim, and if that’s not your thing some positive thoughts can’t hurt.
What can we expect Sunday night? On paper, the Bills should win easily, but we all know how close teams in the NFL actually are depending on circumstances. The Bills are 11 point favorites over the reeling Packers, which is the highest spread against the Packers in Aaron Rodgers NFL career. Rodgers, throwing 11 TD’s with only 3 interceptions, is in a funk as young receivers continue underperforming, a big reason the Packers are 3-4. Worse yet, Rodgers has now publicly called out players, coaches and even management, which means this could go one of a couple ways. Angry teams can be dangerous, and the Packers are still very much in playoff contention despite being a couple games behind the Vikings. Or, they could fall behind early and quit. Don’t expect that.
While the Packers are struggling offensively, their defense has been solid, especially against the pass. Granted, none of the 5 qb’s they’ve faced are in Josh Allen’s stratosphere, but the Packers are allowing under 170 yards passing per game. Allen and OC Ken Dorsey will still throw the ball a lot, and the weather should be decent to do it, but the running game will get opportunities as well.
The Bills are almost fully healthy now, and cornerback Tre White is practicing fully. He’s not playing Sunday, but could be back in the next couple weeks.
No personnel moves for GM Brandon Beane, despite Von Miller’s consistent social media claims the Bills are going after Odell Beckham Jr. Beane and Sean McDermott don’t dismiss it out of hand, but I just don’t see it. The Chiefs surprised a few people by giving up a 3 and a 6 to the Giants for former 1st round pick Kadarius Toney, a speedy wide receiver from Florida who’s a threat when healthy, but he’s been injury prone. Injuries could also play in this, as Bengals top receiver Ja’Marr Chase is now out 4-6 weeks with a hip injury, which is certainly a blow to qb Joe Burrow’s recent hot streak.
Elsewhere in the AFC East, the 4-3 Dolphins are 4 point favorites at Detroit, where they should cover against the Lions’ NFL worst defense. Upset special. The Patriots are 2 ½ point favorites at the Jets, and Mac Jones is getting the start for the Pats. The Jets will force some turnovers and win this one outright.
As for the Bills, they beat the Packers 33-17.
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