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Buffalo Bills back to the middle of the pack in Week 13 power rankings

“In the hunt” season is officially here

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

After a big win for their playoff chances, the Buffalo Bills rose up multiple spots on most sites’ power rankings. The Bills beat an underperforming Kansas City Chiefs team who has now lost five of their last six football games while playing some uninspiring football. Nonetheless, the win was important to the Bills to stay in the hunt.

ESPN bumped the Bills up to 17th from 24th. ESPN usually keeps the Bills in the 16 or 17 range. They like the Bills’ passing defense to keep them in games:

The defense might be getting beat on the ground, but the Bills are definitely not getting beat through the air. Buffalo's opponents have thrown 400 times this season resulting in only 10 touchdown passes. That's a TD allowed on 2.5 percent of passes, tied with the Jaguars for best in the NFL this season.

Monday Morning Quarterback (MMQB) of Sports Illustrated also moved the Bills up seven spots from 23rd to 16th. Their writers vote on where to put teams, the lowest vote for the Bills this week was 23rd and the highest vote was 12th. The Bills were featured in their “biggest riser” category after moving up more spots than anyone else:

I’m not sure about the seven-spot bump, but the good news is the Bills have a chance to prove they belong in the top half of the Power Poll this Sunday. They just have to beat the Patriots.

Yahoo! Sports’ Shutdown Corner didn't have the Bills move at all. Last week they were 18th and they remain there for at least another. They weren't convinced the Bills are any better, but the Chiefs are just playing that badly at this point in the season.

The biggest difference for the Bills on Sunday (aside from having a starting quarterback who wouldn’t throw five interceptions in a half) was the run defense. The Bills allowed 212.7 rushing yards per game over their previous three games, then just 55 against the Chiefs. Kansas City running back Kareem Hunt had 17 yards on 11 carries. Maybe that was due to the Chiefs’ problems rather than a sudden improvement from the Bills, but it was still a promising performance.

The Bills will have a huge chance to make a statement around the league and beat the New England Patriots on Sunday. Not only will they move up in these power rankings, but they'll have a good shot of getting one of the wild card spots with only four games remaining sitting at 7-5.