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Ranking the Buffalo Bills’ 2023 road trips

by Staff

Bills fans love to travel.

It’s not uncommon for road games to have a neutral site or even Highmark Stadium feel to them. Bills Backers chapters are spread throughout the country, filled with native Western New Yorkers. With the current team having Super Bowl aspirations, it makes road trips even more attractive. But how should fans prioritize where to visit, and what game to attend? Let us provide some guidance.

Taking into consideration quality of opponent, attractiveness of the city and weather, here is our power ranking of the 2023 road trips, from best to worst, complete with pros and cons for each:

Pros: It’s early in the season, so the weather should be ideal. It’s a doable drive, or an easy flight. There is plenty to see the day before the game in our nation’s capital. It’s an inferior opponent that should result in a win.

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Cons: This is one of five current stadiums I have yet to visit (the Eagles, Raiders, Broncos and 49ers are the others), so I can’t speak from personal experience, but every review I’ve ever come across of FedEx Field says it’s the absolute armpit of NFL stadiums. Quick: Name five players for the Commanders. Not easy to do, was it? They don’t offer much excitement as an opponent. Also, D.C. is expensive.

Pros: It’s finally not in December, so the weather shouldn’t be an issue. Personal opinion here: Boston is a phenomenal city if you like seafood and appreciate history. I’ve haven’t stayed in Providence, but that’s also an option if Boston isn’t your thing. Beating Bill Belichick never gets old, and the Bills should be favored to do so again. A 1 p.m. Sunday start makes it possible to get home after the game, either by driving or shooting up to Logan for a quick flight.

Cons: Simply put, the location of Gillette Stadium stinks. There is one road – Route 1 – in and out, so traffic is nightmare fuel. While Boston is a great city, it’s not close to Gillette – plan for a commute of more than an hour on game day, and at least that long to get out of the parking lot. Staying near Gillette is an option, but the restaurants there are quite commercialized – think Bar Louie and Red Robin.

Pros: It’s a marquee game on the schedule, with potential huge playoff implications. Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que is worth the trip. Yes, the lines will be long. Yes, it’s in a gas station. Don’t let that deter you. The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is a must-see for any sports fan. The tailgating scene is about as close to Buffalo as you’ll find anywhere in the NFL.

Cons: December in Kansas City is no picnic. It’s not an easy – or cheap – city to get to, with no direct flights. Hotels downtown are oddly expensive. While the timing of the game is ideal (3:25 p.m. local time), for tailgating, it makes getting home after the game impossible. That means taking a day off work Monday. There is a realistic chance of a loss, meaning you’ll be leaving Arrowhead Stadium in a bad mood.

One of my best friends lives in Cincinnati, so I let him ghostwrite part of the “pros” portion of this list:

Pros: “The hip area is called Over the Rhine. Cincinnati is proud it just won a few James Beard restaurant awards. The best is a place called Mita’s. … I think the thing that might really appeal to Bills fans is to be so close to some of the best bourbon in the world. There are lots of tours down into Kentucky, including a bourbon cruise (Queen City Bourbon Cruise) that looks awesome.” There is also horse racing in Kentucky that is close by, and a good museum dedicated to the Cincinnati Reds, the first professional baseball team. The game itself has huge AFC playoff implications, it promises to be very emotional after what happened to Damar Hamlin the last time these two teams met in Paycor Stadium.

Cons: Bills fans might understandably be scarred by what happened to Hamlin, especially if they were in the stadium that night. The Bengals are likely going to be favored. The weather in early November is going to be pretty much like it is here at that time – a coin flip. No direct flights and the timing of the game means a day off Monday will be required. Hotels are so far pretty pricey.

Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field has a reputation for its raucous fans. 

Pros: It’s a potential Super Bowl preview and it comes the Sunday after Thanksgiving, so it’s possible to get to Philly in plenty of time to do a cheesesteak tour (provided you still have room to eat), run the Rocky steps and see the Liberty Bell. The schedules aren’t out yet, but Philadelphia is a great sports town. Perhaps the Flyers or 76ers will be home Saturday night.

Cons: As mentioned above, I’ve not been to Lincoln Financial Field, but I’ve heard it’s not the most inviting place for fans of the opposing team. Getting back after a 4:25 p.m. kickoff is probably not possible, meaning another day off will be required Monday. There is a decent chance the Bills will be underdogs if both teams are healthy.

Pros: It’s a huge divisional matchup, with new Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers making his debut in New York. There is something special about opening week, and playing on the national stage only amplifies that. It’s a Monday night, which leaves plenty of time to explore New York ahead of the game. The weather will be great for such a trip. Golfers should look into booking a round at Bethpage Black on Long Island. It’s an absolute deal for state residents. Billy Joel is playing at Madison Square Garden the night before the game.

Cons: A Monday night game probably means two days off work, unless you’re willing to take an extra-early flight home Tuesday, which is rough. While the flights to New York are reasonable and the drive is manageable, everything else is expensive, especially if you stay in the city. MetLife Stadium is remarkably mediocre, considering it’s located outside the biggest city in the country.

Bills fans in Miami

Buffalo Bills cheer during pregame prior to playing the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. 

Pros: It’s Miami in January. Not much more of a selling point is needed. What better way to break up the long Buffalo winter than with a quick trip to South Beach? A ton of Bills fans are always at this game, so the atmosphere should be great. Tailgating is possible at Hard Rock Stadium. It’s an easy trip to make and the cost is usually not outrageous. Flying direct to Fort Lauderdale is the best move.

Cons: Uncertainty. It’s yet to be determined when this game will take place, which makes booking travel plans tough. Being that it is the last game of the regular season, it’s also impossible to know what will be at stake. Anything from a showdown to decide the AFC East to both teams resting their starters in a meaningless game is possible. The location of Hard Rock Stadium, which is closer to Fort Lauderdale than downtown Miami, makes night-before-the-game plans difficult. Some people prefer South Beach, some like the Elbo Room in Fort Lauderdale, so fans are spread out.

Pros: SoFi Stadium is a jewel of the NFL, as you’d expect for nearly $6 billion. The Chargers are a good team, so playoff stakes could be high. Los Angeles in December is a great time to visit. Direct flights are available on JetBlue.

Cons: The game is awfully close to Christmas, which could present a big challenge. It’s LA, so of course the price tag is going to be high. That’s true for pretty much everything – the flights, hotel, tickets and meals. The game being on a Saturday makes it necessary to take at least one day off work, and potentially more to enjoy the nice weather and still return home Sunday in time for Christmas Eve festivities.

Dolphins Jaguars Football

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, in a photo taken with slow shutter speed, will be the site of the Bills game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars (in London)

OK, so it’s technically a “home” game on the Bills’ schedule, but since it’s taking place in England at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, we’re going to count it as a road trip for our purposes.

Pros: The Bills haven’t been overseas since 2015, so this type of trip simply doesn’t happen that often. Life is about experiences, and this is a great one. Even if you’re not a soccer fan, there is a full slate of English Premier League games scheduled Saturday before the game, and you can check one of those off the sports bucket list. If that’s not your thing … it’s a world-class city to explore. The Jaguars were a playoff team in 2022 and have their sights set higher this year, so this game should have big implications in the AFC playoff race.

Cons: Cost. That’s far away – the biggest drawback. The time off from work needed to do this trip right is another potential drawback. You’ll want at least a few days to explore London, especially if you haven’t been before, and that can be a challenge. There are obviously no direct flights from Buffalo, but they are available from Toronto. It’s only money – you can earn more of it.

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