Bills' 2021 schedule features four prime-time games and opener vs. Steelers

Three playoff teams from last season visit Highmark Stadium, which may be alowed to operate at full capacity by the start of the season.

Bills fans might not be getting as much sleep as they need in 2021, thanks to their team becoming one of the NFL's finest and landing on prime-time TV four times when the league unveiled its schedule Wednesday night.

That figure could grow because of the league's long-time practice of flex scheduling.

The league also has added a 17th game for the first time, meaning an extra home game for all AFC teams this season.

For the Bills that game will be against the Washington Football Team on Sept. 26.

Washington is one of three playoff teams from last season who will visit Buffalo this year. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts are the others.

The Steelers and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, in fact, visit Highmark Stadium to open the season on Sept. 12. The Colts, who were eliminated in the wildcard round of the playoff by the Bills last January, come to Orchard Park on Nov. 21.

In addition to their normal AFC East opponents, the Bills visit Jacksonville, New Orleans, Tennessee, Kansas City, which knocked them out of the playoffs last season, and Tampa Bay, which knocked off Kansas City in the Super Bowl.

The AFC Championship game rematch will be on Sunday night, Oct. 10, at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs, quarterbacked by Patrick Mahomes, beat the Bills in the regular season last year as well.

After hosting the Colts, the Bills face a short-week matchup on the road against the New Orleans Saints, who will be without the retired Drew Brees and perhaps significantly more mortal in their dome.

But after that road trip, they get some extra time off before hosting the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football on Dec. 6.

That game could set the stage for an intriguing stretch run that includes a road trip to Tampa Bay on Dec. 12, a road trip to New England on Dec. 26 and a pair of home games to close the season (vs. Atlanta on Jan. 2 and the New York Jets on Jan. 9).

For Bills fans who like to travel to warm-weather sites, this schedule is loaded with options. In fact, this is the first time they are scheduled to play all three Florida teams on the road in the same season.

The schedule features games against seven playoff teams from 2020.

Bills 2021 schedule

Regular season

Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 12 vs Steelers, 1 p.m.

Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 19 at Dolphins, 1 p.m.

Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 26 vs Washington, 1 p.m.

Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 3 vs. Texans, 1 p.m.

Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 10 at Chiefs, 8:20 p.m

Week 6: Monday, Oct. 18 at Titans, 8:15 p.m.

Week 7: Off week.

Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 31 vs Dolphins, 1 p.m.

Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 7 at Jaguars, 1 p.m.

Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 14 at Jets, 1 p.m.

Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 21 vs Colts, 1 p.m.

Week 12: Thursday, Nov. 25 at Saints, 8:20 p.m

Week 13: Monday, Dec. 6 vs Patriots, 8:15 p.m.

Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 12 at Buccaneers, 4:25 p.m.

Week 15: Sat./Sun, Dec. 18-19 vs Panthers, TBD.

Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 26 at Patriots, 1 p.m.

Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 2 vs Falcons, 1 p.m.

Week 18: Sunday, Jan. 9 vs Jets, 1 p.m.

Nick Fierro is the publisher of Bills Central. Check out the latest Bills news at and follow Fierro on Twitter at @NickFierro.