If you’re a fan of the Buffalo Bills, it’s likely you have a lukewarm-at-best relationship with power rankings. A combination of small-market woes and less-than-successful football has generally led to poor ratings from the major information sources. Our last peek soon after the 2018 season concluded certainly continued that trend, with the Bills failing to crack the top 20 in any ranking. With the draft in the rear-view mirror, let’s take a look and see if any opinions changed.
Elliot Harrison does the rankings for NFL.com, which is as good a place as any to begin. Harrison lists the Bills at number 24. Ed Oliver’s “value” is questioned, with Harrison insinuating that more weapons for Josh Allen might have been the better route for the Bills to have taken at nine overall. There is praise for Dawson Knox, however, with Harrison proclaiming he “qualifies as a nice fit.” In the division, this list places the New England Patriots (2nd) and New York Jets (23rd) above Buffalo. The Miami Dolphins are dead last.
ESPN’s list won’t make most fans clamor for Mike Rodak to change his mind and stay in Buffalo. Before you go off on Rodak though, know that he’s not solely responsible for slotting the Bills in as the 27th-best team in the league. He is responsible for the narrative portion however, where the offensive line is listed as the team’s most improved personnel group. This should be considered a positive note, as we all felt it was the area most in need of improvement. The Jets once again edge out the Bills by one slot, with the Patriots near the top at 4. Once again, the Dolphins close the list.
Sports Illustrated’s power rankings are formed by a panel as well. Coming in at number 20 on the charts, SI is higher on optimism but lower on analysis. Per their panel, “The Bills are trying to make their famous tailgates less fun, so they better hope the product on the field is a little better.” Miami isn’t last here (29), but the Bills edge out the ‘Fins as well as the Jets (26). The Patriots are the number one team (Boooo!).
USA Today closely echoes NFL.com with their rankings. The Pats and Dolphins bookend the list. This ranking is a little less optimistic for the Bills and Jets, sliding them both down a rank (25 and 24, respectively). The tone of their quick-hit analysis is curious given the slotting. “When you’re under radar, you’re poised to inflict damage. Buffalo appears ready to do so after quietly amassing free agent and rookie talent.”
Scout is as pessimistic about the Bills as ESPN, putting them at 27th. Scout deviates from traditional analysis, relying on “neutral field simulations.” Using more traditional approaches, Sporting News feels the exact same way in their rankings as Scout. Sporting News applauded the offensive line work but dinged the Bills for acquiring “more quantity” at the skill positions than quality.
Saving the best for last, Bleacher Report is the most optimistic major ranking that we looked at, placing the Buffalo Bills at 18. A “strong run in free agency” that built the team around Josh Allen is praised, as are the selections of Ed Oliver and Cody Ford. Bleacher Report also felt that Buffalo overachieved last season and went the right direction talent-wise this offseason. The Dolphins take their usual spot at 32, with the Jets landing at 26 and the Patriots at the top spot again (Boooo!).
Overall, there are a lot of lingering doubts when it comes to Buffalo. What do you think Rumblers? Are they justified?