Taking a look at the three most important games the Buffalo Bills will play in during the 2017 NFL season.

Dec 24, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Brandon Tate (15) runs the ball after a punt against the Miami Dolphins at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

With the NFL schedule being released on Thursday, teams and fans now know which direction these teams will be taking as they move forward. For some teams, the schedule release shows in order which teams they will lose to in the weeks ahead. For others, it shows how tough the matchups will be for their team on the quest to make the playoffs in 2017.

For the Buffalo Bills, 2017 is likely to be a very telling season for how the next few years of football in Buffalo will go. On one hand, you have a Bills team with potential on all sides of the football. With that said, they also have a lot of issues to work out going forward that could cost this team in the long run.

Based on their schedule as a whole and the Bills could be in for another rough season this year. However, depending on the results, Buffalo could at least give many of their fans hope for the 2018 season with a solid performance in 2017.

3. October 1st at Atlanta

Heading to the house of the defending NFC Champions, Buffalo will have an uphill battle when they take on the Atlanta Falcons during week 4 of the season. The biggest issue here is that the Bills will be coming off a home game the previous week against the extremely talented Denver Broncos and could be banged up on offense due to this fact.

Mainly, this game ranks up on this list due to the fact that this game should give Bills fans an early glimpse to how far or close they are to making the playoffs. If the Bills can keep it close against the explosive Falcons, fans should be excited as it will prove that Buffalo is almost ready to take the next giant leap forward.

2. December 3rd vs. New England

The first of three straight home games between week 13 and week 15, the Buffalo Bills open up their homestand against the rival New England Patriots. With the team being the defending Super Bowl champions, this home game will be the ultimate test for the Bills. While I expect them to struggle in their first game at New England, this game will be one to watch for fans of Buffalo.

Much like the Atlanta game, Buffalo will be looking to keep this game close and prove that they are properly on the verge of taking the next leap forward. That said, if Buffalo struggles in this game, it will again show the gargantuan divide between the Bills and the Patriots.

1. November 2nd at New York Jets

In what is becoming an annual affair between the two AFC East rivals, the Jets and Bills will once again square off at least once this season on Thursday night. Again, we can expect the ever-popular color rush uniforms to make an appearance with the Bills and Jets likely rocking the extremely bright red and green colors.

However, given this game’s date in the middle of the season, it could serve as an opportunity for Buffalo to begin a momentum push for the second half of the season. Given that the Jets look ready to tank in 2017, this game is a must-win for the Bills if they want to have any hope of a playoff push.