The Buffalo Bills have been a pretty easy team to figure out during the 2019 NFL season. They have a top-tier defense that’s borderline elite and an offense struggling to find an identity. They’re good enough to exploit bad teams, but they haven’t been able to defeat any of the better teams on their schedule thus far.
For those of us looking for a quality win over an inferior opponent, Buffalo’s 37-20 drubbing of the Miami Dolphins was exactly what the doctor ordered. The Bills moved the ball effortlessly on offense and dominated the Dolphins on defense. Only some special teams hiccups kept the Bills from truly dominating all three facets of the game, but as Meat Loaf told us, two out of three ain’t bad.
As for this week’s power rankings, the Bills find themselves in familiar territory: They’re ranked ahead of the league’s doormats, and they’re sometimes ranked behind teams that have fewer wins than they do. For some national pundits, Buffalo’s convincing victory on Sunday did little to alleviate the fears that the Bills are a sheep in wolf’s clothing—a mediocre team inflating its resume against inferior competition. Others, however, called the Bills underrated.
We’ll start with Marcel Louis-Jacques and ESPN, which has Buffalo ranked No. 12 this week, one spot higher than they were last week. This week’s theme for the Worldwide Leader is “team’s most underrated player,” and the honor goes to defensive tackle Jordan Phillips for Buffalo. The big interior lineman trails only Aaron Donald in sacks among defensive tackles this season with seven, and Louis-Jacques thinks Phillips has “played himself into a sizable payday.” Phillips has had a career year, which could price him out of a return to Buffalo. Although the Bills have the projected cap space to sign him, they already have plenty of resources committed to the position, with Star Lotulelei right in the middle of a $50 million contract and first-round pick Ed Oliver, not to mention third-round choice Harrison Phillips.
Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune gives Buffalo the lowest ranking of the week, as the Bills come in at No. 15, which is three spots higher than they were ranked last week. Biggs writes that the Bills “got back on track” with the victory over Miami this week, but he calls a victory over the Denver Broncos this week “paramount” to Buffalo’s playoff chances. After the Broncos, Buffalo plays at the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day, then hosts the Baltimore Ravens before playing consecutive road games against the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots. When he says a win over Denver is important, he certainly isn’t wrong with that upcoming schedule.
Doug Farrar of USA Today has Buffalo ranked in the top ten, coming in at No. 9 this week. That’s two spots up from their ranking at the beginning of the week. Farrar writes about quarterback Josh Allen’s success over the last month, noting that the second-year man has thrown eight touchdown passes against zero interceptions over his last five games. Allen also has four rushing touchdowns in that span. Farrar was impressed with Allen’s accuracy and command of the offense on Sunday, and he notes that Allen’s continued improvement bodes well for an up-and-coming Buffalo club.
Jake Rill at Bleacher Report only wrote about the top three teams in his power rankings, but he still provided a full-out list for the league. He ranked Buffalo No. 11, sandwiched in between the Houston Texans (No. 10) and the Oakland Raiders (No. 12). The Bills are the lowest-ranked team with at least seven wins, with the next lowest squad coming in at No. 7 (the eight-win Minnesota Vikings).
Vinnie Iyer at The Sporting News has Buffalo ranked No. 14, up one spot from last week’s poll. Iyer writes that Buffalo is “good at ripping through bad teams,” noting that exactly that occurred on Sunday. He also writes that the Bills will have to “beat up” on Denver in order to stay ahead of a “surging” group of AFC Wild Card contenders.
As per usual, Buffalo’s biggest fan among the national pollsters, Pete Prisco of CBS Sports, has Buffalo ranked higher than anyone. He has Buffalo at No. 8 this week, which is one spot higher than he had them last week. He wrote that “Josh Allen had one of his best games,” continuing to say, “As he improves, so will this team.”
Scott Bair at NBC Sports went the Rodney Dangerfield route, saying that Josh Allen and his club both get no respect. He has Buffalo ranked No. 9 this week, one spot up from his rankings last weekend. Bair wrote that Allen combined for 312 total yards and four touchdowns in the dominant victory to show why Allen is deserving of a bit more respect than he’s been shown so far.
Finally, Mark Maske of The Washington Post ranked Buffalo at No. 11 this week, up five spots from last week’s poll. He wrote that Allen “threw the ball very effectively in Miami,” adding that if Allen “can be even a threat in the passing game, the Bills are a difficult match-up for any opponent.”