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A tough early schedule will be a huge challenge for the Buffalo Bills in 2010.

Four of their first six games are against playoff teams from last year, and the defenses of those playoff teams ranked first, second, third and 11th in the NFL. The Buffalo offense could get off to a rough start. Overall the Bills' schedule ranks 16th in the NFL, based on last year's records.

Here's a look at the challenges ahead for the Bills the next four months:

Sept. 12, Miami. Chan Gailey's team will never be more of a mystery to the opposition than in this opener. This probably is the Bills' best chance to get a win in the first four games.

Sept. 19, at Green Bay. It looks like a bad matchup. The Pack ranked sixth on offense and second on defense last year and scored 28.8 points a game. Green Bay is 32-7 at home the past five years.

Sept. 26, at New England. Who's your daddy? The Bills have lost to the Pats 13 straight times, 18 of the last 19 and nine straight in New England. "The Razor" is the Bills' House of Horrors.

Oct. 3, N.Y. Jets. A rugged matchup, especially now that Jets star Darrelle Revis is back. With Revis and Antonio Cromartie locking up the Bills' WRs, how will the Bills get a first down? Expect a lot of running plays.

Oct. 10, Jacksonville. The Bills and Jags might as well be in the same division. They meet for a fifth straight year and the eighth time in 10 years. The Bills will be desperate for a win.

Oct. 24, at Baltimore. The Ravens are a top Super Bowl contender and have ranked among the top six in defense seven straight years. What are the odds the Bills, coming off a bye week, will have a QB change for this game?

Oct. 31, at Kansas City. These two bottom-feeders meet for a third straight year. The Bills beat the Chiefs last year and picked off QB Matt Cassel four times.

Nov. 7, Chicago, at Toronto. Good-case scenario: A win here pulls the Bills even at 4-4. The Bears are coming off a bye week. Their offense does not look too explosive. Expect a close game.

Nov. 14, Detroit. This is the "easier" stretch of the season, with a chance at three straight wins. Lions have lost 16 of their last 18 on the road against the AFC. Bills fans get to see QB Matt Stafford.

Nov. 21, at Cincinnati. Will the Bengals and Terrell Owens be happy campers by this date? Cincy has four tough games before this one and will count on a win here. The Bills have beaten Cincy nine straight.

Nov. 28, Pittsburgh. Ben Roethlisberger will be off his suspension, and plenty of Steeler fans will be in the stands. Pittsburgh's defense ranked second in the NFL in sacks last year.

Dec. 5, at Minnesota. Brett Favre faces Buffalo for a sixth time. The Vikes ranked No. 1 in sacks last year and have won 15 of their last 16 at home entering 2010.

Dec. 12, Cleveland. Who can forget last year's infamous, 6-3 loss to the Browns at The Ralph? This one has to be prettier, right? The Bills have lost to the Browns three straight years.

Dec. 19, at Miami. Who knows what kind of shape the Bills will be in by this point? Will it be a replay of last year's game in Miami, when the Fish partied in the Bills' backfield?

Dec. 26, New England. Let's see, Bill Belichick is 58, and Tom Brady 33. Brady is talking about playing into his 40s. Belichick isn't going anywhere while Brady is going strong. The beat goes on?

Jan. 2, at N.Y. Jets. The question: Will Bills fans be more interested in all the college bowl games this week? Will Rex Ryan's team be talking Super Bowl or be the overhyped disappointment of the year?

e-mail: mgaughan@buffnews.com