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NFL power rankings, week 5: Buffalo Bills inch up

The Bills beat one of the top teams and no one cares.

The Buffalo Bills knocked off the previously unbeaten New England Patriots on Sunday, but more power rankings pickers kept them in the bottom third of the league. After consecutive wins over preseason Super Bowl favorites, it’s interesting that Buffalo isn’t getting more respect.

The highest ranking for the Bills came from’s Eliot Harrison, who moved up Buffalo four spots to 15. “The numbers from Rex's win, er, the Bills' win over the Patriots are flat staggering,” wrote Harrison. “Buffalo handed New England its first shutout loss at home since 1993. Dennis Thurman's defense forced a stop on 11 of 12 third downs.”

We haven’t included Peter King’s Fine Fifteen on our list yet because the Bills hadn’t sniffed the top half of the league. This week they were on the cusp at 16.

SB Nation has been the most consistent with the Bills, giving them a one-spot boost this week from 20 to 19. When they were 0-2, SB Nation had them in the low 20s, so the last few weeks haven’t altered their opinion much.

Buffalo moved up just two spots in the ESPN power rankings from 22 to 20 despite beating two teams the analytics department at the “Worldwide Leader” were very high on: “After falling to 0-2 to start the season, the Bills made a shake-up and we questioned it. Since then, the Bills have beaten the Cardinals, who entered their game No. 1 in NFL Football Power Index, and the Patriots, who entered their game No. 1 in NFL FPI.”

Speaking of FPI, it’s an interesting way to do power rankings. Here’s a long description of the Football Power Index, but the Cliff Notes version says it’s a ranking of what the analytics say a team is poised to do over the rest of the season. The Bills were higher than most people expected:

We’ll keep checking in with the FPI, but Buffalo’s next three opponents are waaaaay down that list. It’s put up or shut up time.