Through the month of September, the Buffalo Bills were consistently ranked among the top teams in football. Thanks to some big wins in the season’s first quarter, the team was flying high with a 4-0 record. After stumbling to consecutive losses against the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs, the Bills righted the ship against the New York Jets.
While Buffalo may have won the game, they did so in an uninspiring fashion, defeating a moribund Jets team 18-10. The Bills became the only team this year to fail to score a touchdown in a game against the Jets, and it’s indicative of how bad the Jets are that Buffalo still was able to win by eight points. Thanks to that sloppy showing this Sunday, Buffalo remains all over the power rankings this week, with some rankers placing the Bills pretty low on their list.
We start with Sporting News, where Vinnie Iyer has Buffalo ranked No. 9 this week. He said that the Bills “didn’t look all that great against the Jets,” which is an understatement when discussing the first half of the game. Buffalo’s second-half performance was downright dominant in all but one way, as the team moved the ball at will and kept the Jets from doing anything offensively, but still failed to find the end zone. Iyer says that the Bills are still “figuring out” the running game, but he noted that Tyler Bass was able to recover from some big misses to field a strong afternoon overall, as he tied a franchise record by making six field goals on the day.
Marcel Louis-Jacques at ESPN has Buffalo ranked No. 8, exactly where he placed the team last week. He said that the player who most needs to step up is middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. While noting that the third-year pro has been hampered by a shoulder injury, Louis-Jacques voices concern with Edmunds’s inability to shed blocks, his reaction time, and his missed tackles. After missing only 12 tackles in 16 games last year, Edmunds has already missed six tackles this season. Louis-Jacques notes that the Bills’ defense needs to return to form if the team is going to take that next step towards being a legitimate contender.
Matt Williamson at Pro Football Network has Buffalo ranked No. 12 on the season, sandwiched between the No. 11 Arizona Cardinals and the No. 13 Indianapolis Colts. He notes that Sunday’s ugly victory “wasn’t a good look “ for Buffalo against a horrendous Jets team that “deserve[s] credit for playing [its] best game of the year.” He gave the Bills credit for moving the ball well, but notes that the game was close due to poor execution on third down and in the red zone.
Justin Leger at NBC Sports has Buffalo ranked No. 8 this week. He makes note of Buffalo’s victory over the Jets, but was unimpressed with it. None of us were impressed, either, but a win is a win. He notes that this week’s matchup with the New England Patriots will be “telling.”
Dan Hanzus at NFL.com has Buffalo ranked No. 8, which is where he had the Bills ranked heading into the week. After an uninspiring win over the Jets, he felt that the team could take away a solid positive—the return of a dominating defensive performance—from the win. He specifically mentioned the performance of Jerry Hughes, who was an absolute wrecking ball on Sunday, totaling six tackles, two sacks, two QB hits, one tackle for loss, one forced fumble, one pass breakup, and one interception in 36 defensive snaps.
Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk ranked Buffalo No. 9 this week, up one spot from last week. He notes that the Bills’ inability to run and stop the run could be an issue heading into this Sunday’s clash with the Patriots. If Buffalo can force struggling quarterback Cam Newton into passing situations, they could have a great day defensively; however, if the Patriots can control the clock via the run, they may have an issue.
Pete Prisco at CBS Sports has Buffalo ranked No. 8, one spot ahead of the Cleveland Browns, who are also 5-2 after seven games. He writes that the victory wasn’t big on style points, but it was a win nonetheless. As many others said, Prisco writes that this week’s game against New England is a big one for the Bills, especially given their historic struggles with the Patriots for the last two decades.