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Week 9 NFL power rankings: Buffalo Bills are who they thought we were

Or, at least that’s how it looks after a blowout loss

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The Buffalo Bills entered Week 8 of the 2019 NFL season feeling like Rodney Dangerfield. Like the great comedian, the Bills just get no respect, I tell ya. Against the Philadelphia Eagles, a team many picked to contend for a Super Bowl berth this season, the Bills had a chance to earn that respect.

After a 31-13 shellacking at the hands of the Eagles—at home, no less—the Bills are looking a little less respectable in the eyes of many. Sure, many fans picked this game as one the Bills would lose (like our own Skarekrow, whose season predictions are still flawless), but it certainly didn’t make the loss any easier to swallow. As a result, many who compile power rankings in the national media dropped the Bills, as we are starting look a bit like who they thought we were, to paraphrase the late Dennis Green.

Since we’re in need of some good vibes, we’ll start over at Yahoo!, where Frank Schwab still has Buffalo ranked in the top ten. The Bills come in at No. 9 in his weekly power ranking. Schwab noted quarterback Josh Allen’s struggles against an Eagles secondary that has really struggled against the pass, writing that Allen was only able to total 169 passing yards on 34 attempts Sunday. He made no mention of the swirling winds and rainy conditions. Schwab writes, “Allen ranks 26th of 28 quarterbacks with 200 attempts in Pro Football Focus’ grades, besting only Case Keenum and Mitchell Trubisky,” reinforcing the idea that Allen still has plenty of room for improvement in a season where he already has shown plenty of it.

Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports dropped Buffalo five spots, as the Bills fell all the way to No. 14 this week. He writes that Buffalo’s 5-2 record is “so much more impressive than the actual brand of football they play.” Given that the Bills have won five games over teams that have combined for seven wins, and they’ve only won those games by a total of 36 points, the sentiment is understandable.

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune has Buffalo at No. 15, down from the ninth spot last week. He refers to the Eagles as a “mediocre-to-bad team,” saying that Buffalo’s trend of beating teams of that ilk came to an end on Sunday. That may not necessarily be a fair assessment of the Eagles, or perhaps the Bills were just that bad on Sunday—but I digress. Biggs notes Buffalo’s weak upcoming schedule, which includes dates with Washington, the Cleveland Browns, the Miami Dolphins, and the Denver Broncos, saying that Buffalo could very well be 8-3 and positioned for a playoff berth regardless of last week’s debacle.

At ESPN, the Bills fell to No. 13 after occupying the ninth spot last week. Marcel Louis-Jacques wrote that the Bills player who needs to step up is wide receiver Robert Foster, an odd choice considering that Foster has seemingly been phased out of the game plan by the coaching staff. Louis-Jacques notes that Foster only has four targets this season, so it’s difficult to imagine what the young wideout can do to “step up” when he has been given next to zero opportunity to do so thus far. Perhaps the sentiment is directed more at the coaching staff, as he mentions Foster’s ability to “take the top off a defense would alleviate some of Buffalo’s offensive struggles.”

Pete Prisco at CBS Sports dropped the Bills out of his top ten, as the team fell from the sixth spot to No. 11 this week. He notes that the loss to Philadelphia was a bad one, saying that they “got mauled.” This is clearly in reference to the run defense, which was atrocious on the whole, allowing 218 rushing yards on 41 attempts. He also wrote that the run defense “was terrible and has to be better.”

Jake Rill at Bleacher Report ranked Buffalo at No. 13 overall, the lowest of the five-win teams. He has Buffalo one spot behind the Los Angeles Rams and one spot ahead of the Carolina Panthers. While he doesn’t write anything about why he has Buffalo ranked there, he did write that “four teams entered Week 8 with no more than one loss,” and “all four of those teams won this weekend.” There were actually five teams to enter play with one loss or less, and the Bills were the only team to lose.

Finally, Vinnie Iyer at The Sporting News has Buffalo ranked No. 14, down from the tenth spot entering last week. He notes that the team has a “wild-card cushion” right now, and he also brings up the “easy” schedule over the next four games. He writes that the Bills “need to be better positioned in November, or there will be a fade in December,” which is an all-too-familiar fate Bills fans hope that this iteration of the squad can avoid.