The Buffalo Bills just missed the chance to face Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Super Bowl, but one insider believes they could end up facing him in the NFL’s opening game of the 2021 season.
The Bills are scheduled to face the Bucs on the road this year, and as Super Bowl champions they are expected to host the Thursday Night Football opener. That could set the stage for an epic primetime matchup between the Bills and their longtime nemesis.
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Bills May Meet Brady in Primetime
Mike North, the NFL’s vice president of broadcast planning, said primetime viewers will likely be seeing a lot of the Bills in the upcoming season. Appearing on the SalSports… and Stuff with WGR 550 reporter Sal Capaccio, North said some likely candidates are the road games against the Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans Saints as well as both New England Patriots contests.
When asked if the Bills could face Brady and the Bucs on the opening Thursday Night Football game — which is traditionally hosted by the Super Bowl winner — he said that is a strong possibility as well.
“They’re absolutely in the conversation. They have to be,” North said, via Audacy. “You look at the Tampa Bay home schedule, and there’s some excellent games, obviously. You can take, frankly, any of the division games. Carolina [Panthers] and Atlanta [Falcons] are interesting, but maybe not at that upper-echelon quite yet. New Orleans, obviously, a different story without Drew Brees under center, but never more interesting than they are in Week 1. Tampa hosts the [New York] Giants, they host Chicago [Bears], they host Dallas [Cowboys]. There are so many big games. Obviously, Buffalo-Tampa is going to be a big game.”
Prime-time #Bills: NFL VP suggests that could be the case once again
The schedule drops May 12th https://t.co/L01YocHZSU
— Buffalo Rumblings (@BuffRumblings) April 23, 2021
North said the league could also go the opposite direction, scheduling the Bills-Bucs contest late in the season when both would likely be jostling for playoff positioning.
The Bills have not seen Brady since he bolted the Patriots, missing out on a Super Bowl meeting with his Bucs by losing to the Chiefs in the AFC Championship game. The Bills did beat the Brady-less New England twice, the first time that Buffalo swept the series since 1999.
Bills Schedule Brings Other Highlights
Buffalo’s schedule will highlight some other big contests, including an unexpected reunion with a popular former Bills quarterback. The league is moving to a 17-game schedule for 2021, matching up standings in the opposing interconference division. For the Bills, that means hosting the first-place team in the NFC East — the Washington Football Team. That leaves a high likelihood that Ryan Fitzpatrick will return to Buffalo.
Dolphins’ QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has played for a quarter of the teams in the NFL, was asked to name his favorite city.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 29, 2020
The Bills in 2020 had the most number of primetime games in 25 years. There were four scheduled primetime games, and a Week 15 contest against the Denver Broncos was flexed to the league’s Saturday slate. Another scheduled Sunday afternoon contest against the Tennessee Titans ended up being played in primetime, a 7 p.m. Tuesday start time due to the COVID-19 outbreak within the Titans organization.
As NFL.com noted, the league will release the full 2021 schedule on Wednesday, May 12 at 8 p.m. ET. The season kicks off with Thursday Night Football on September 9.