Buffalo Bills: 2014 NFL Nation season predictions

Buffalo Bills game predictions

September, 2, 2014
9/02/14
8:00
AM ET

ESPN.com Buffalo Bills reporter Mike Rodak makes his game-by-game picks for the 2014 season.

Week 1: at Chicago Bears

This will be EJ Manuel's first "real" test of the season and it won't be easy. The Bills went 2-6 on the road last season, with Manuel's only road win coming against Jacksonville. Given the offense's struggles in the preseason, this is a tall task. Prediction: Loss


Week 2: Miami Dolphins

The Bills beat the Dolphins twice last season -- with Thad Lewis starting at quarterback in each game -- and there is plenty of reason for optimism here. The Bills started strong at Ralph Wilson Stadium last season, nearly beating the New England Patriots and then knocking off the Carolina Panthers. With a pumped-up home crowd, they should pull this one out. Prediction: Win


Week 3: San Diego Chargers

Back-to-back home games in September can't hurt for Manuel. If he gets some momentum going against Miami, it should help against San Diego, which was a playoff team last season. I'm not convinced the Chargers are close to being a power in the AFC, making this a winnable game for Buffalo. Prediction: Win


Week 4: at Houston Texans

This is a classic toss-up game, a road contest against a team that was in the NFL's basement last year. The Texans will be better this season, but like the Bills, they have question marks at quarterback. Can Ryan Fitzpatrick out-duel Manuel? We'll say yes, but it will be close. Prediction: Loss


Week 5: at Detroit Lions

Jim Schwartz returns to Detroit to face his old team. The Bills' road schedule isn't overly difficult and I think they can come away with a few wins along the way. We'll chalk this one up as a victory. Prediction: Win


Week 6: New England Patriots

The Bills played the Patriots tough in last season's opener and also beat New England at home in 2011. It could happen again but it will take a strong effort from Manuel. By Week 6, is he ready to topple Tom Brady and the Patriots? Not likely. Prediction: Loss


Week 7: Minnesota Vikings

Will this be a Teddy Bridgewater vs. EJ Manuel matchup? Perhaps, if Matt Cassel struggles early for the Vikings. This is another winnable home game for the Bills, one in which their improved run defense will be tested against Adrian Peterson. We'll give the Bills their fourth win. Prediction: Win


Week 8: at New York Jets

Manuel had one of his worst games last season in the Meadowlands and was outdone by Geno Smith and the Jets. Whether Smith or Michael Vick is starting for the Jets by this point may not matter; the Jets' defense is tough and should contain the Bills on New York's home turf. Prediction: Loss


Week 10: Kansas City Chiefs

The Bills played the undefeated Chiefs tough around this time last season, with Jeff Tuel's goal-line interception the turning point in an otherwise well-played game. The Chiefs use a controlled offense, led by Alex Smith, and have a strong defense. That's a good combination to beat the Bills. Prediction: Loss


Week 11: at Miami Dolphins

The Bills should escape some of the South Florida heat as this game falls in November, but the Dolphins have a superior quarterback in Ryan Tannehill. If the Bills' defense stays strong like it did last season in Miami, this is a winnable road game. Prediction: Win


Week 12: New York Jets

The Bills handed the Jets one of their worst losses of last season at Ralph Wilson Stadium, a game in which Smith was benched for Matt Simms. Can Manuel have another strong day? It's tough to foresee this far into the season, but we'll say yes. Prediction: Win


Week 13: Cleveland Browns

Who will be the Browns' quarterback by Thanksgiving? Does it matter? This is the Bills' most winnable home game. If they can't pull this one out, yikes. The Browns would gladly take the "W" and the Bills' first-round draft pick next May. But for now, let's hold off. Prediction: Win


Week 14: at Denver Broncos

This begins a brutal December stretch that could ultimately doom the Bills' chances at the playoffs. Pulling out a win against Peyton Manning in Denver would be the Bills' biggest accomplishment in years. It won't happen. Prediction: Loss


Week 15: Green Bay Packers

From one future Hall of Fame quarterback to another. Aaron Rodgers will come in to Ralph Wilson Stadium and hand the Bills another loss, one that would probably put them out of playoff contention. Prediction: Loss


Week 16: at Oakland Raiders

Cross-country trips are never easy, and no matter what the Raiders' quarterback situation is by the end of the season, it may not matter. If the wheels are coming off the Bills' wagon, this will be a tough game to win. Prediction: Loss


Week 17: at New England Patriots

The Bills are in a tough spot with this one. If the Patriots are still battling for a playoff spot, they'll be playing tough and will be a hard team to beat at home. If the Patriots already have locked up the playoffs, then that would likely mean the Bills are out. Either way, not a good spot for the Bills to pull out a win. Prediction: Loss


Predicted Record: 7-9

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