Buffalo Bills: 2021 schedule analysis and predictions

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) stiff-arms Pittsburgh Steelers free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) stiff-arms Pittsburgh Steelers free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. /
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Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills offense huddles during the second quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Bills Stadium. (Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images) /

The Buffalo Bills’ 2020 season was unquestionably their best year of the century. Up against one of the toughest schedules in the league, quarterback Josh Allen took his third-year leap, Stefon Diggs poured in a career year, and the team came within one game of going to the Super Bowl.

With virtually all of the key members of the 2020 team returning for 2021 and a slightly softer schedule, the Bills should be right there again this year. Let’s go through their 2021 slate game-by-game, and break down how the team will do this coming season.

Week 1 – vs Pittsburgh Steelers

After Josh Allen’s infamous “we f****** work” speech before breaking the Steelers’ will on Monday Night Football last season, Buffalo and Pittsburgh will reconvene in Week 1.

When the Steelers came into Orchard Park last season, they were 11-1. After losing to the Bills 26-15, Pittsburgh continued to falter down the stretch, as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s arm continued to deteriorate and his receivers came down with a terrible case of the dropsies. Their season ended in an embarrassing home playoff loss to the rival (and at the time, coach-less) Cleveland Browns.

Roethlisberger is back for what is almost certainly his last season in the NFL. To mitigate his failing arm and statue-esque pocket mobility, head coach Mike Tomlin has gone all in on the running game, selecting former Alabama bruiser Najee Harris in the first round of the 2021 draft.

The Bills should expect a steady diet of Harris in this one, however they also need to look out for underneath routes. To account for Roethlisberger’s lack of mobility, the Steelers’ scheme is predicated on getting the ball out early to avoid big hits on their immobile quarterback.

With the ball either being handed off or thrown as soon as it’s snapped, this game will be frustrating for the Bills’ new pass rushers, but it is certainly winnable. While the Steelers do bring in their trademark stout defence, the Bills proved last season that they can handle T.J. Watt and crew.

Prediction: 24-14 Bills