After the Buffalo Bills defeated the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, winning a 38-20 battle that was dominated by the road team, I expected that the Bills would be a universal No. 1 in this week’s NFL power rankings. While that isn’t the case, the Bills have risen to a place where they are listed in everyone’s top three at this point.
We’ll start with a ranking where they remained No. 1, as ESPN has Buffalo at the top for the second consecutive week. Alaina Getzenberg wrote about Buffalo’s most improved player through five weeks, and while her choice is one I find odd—wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders—I see where she’s coming from statistically. Sanders averaged just 8.98 yards of depth per target last year, a career low. This year, his average target depth is 16.8 yards. Sanders has two games with at least two touchdowns this year; prior to this season, he had six such games in his career. It’s almost as if playing with an end-of-career Drew Brees lessened Sanders’s impact, and by pairing up with a still-rising stud in Josh Allen, he’s been able to find more success.
David Fucillo at Draft Kings Nation (Disclaimer: part of our parent company, SB Nation) also has Buffalo ranked No. 1 this week. For his rankings, he used point differential against the spread, a category which the Bills lead running away so far this year. Fucillo explains the method in the article, but Buffalo’s differential against the spread is +76.5 (the next-best number belongs to the Dallas Cowboys at +50.5), and their point differential overall is +108 (the next-best number belongs to the Arizona Cardinals at +62). The Bills aren’t just beating their opponents over the last month—they’re dominating them.
Dan Hanzus at NFL Network has Buffalo at the top, as well. He writes that “defeating the Chiefs in October and defeating them in January” are two completely different things, but that doesn’t take away from how impressive Buffalo’s victory last week was. Hanzus ends his blurb by calling Buffalo a “juggernaut.”
Barry Werner at Yahoo! has Buffalo ranked No. 1 this week, as well. He writes that the victory over Kansas City was a “statement,” and he calls quarterback Josh Allen “a superstar.” Werner also called the Bills “a threat to roll through anyone they play” before noting that it’s the Tennessee Titans they’ll see next week on Monday Night Football.
Pete Prisco over at CBS Sports is one of a handful of writers who has Buffalo out of the top spot. He has the Bills at No. 2 this week, trailing only the undefeated Arizona Cardinals. Prisco wrote that the victory over Kansas City “sends a message to the rest of the AFC.” He praised both the defensive unit and quarterback Josh Allen.
Dalton Miller at Pro Football Network also has the Bills ranked at No. 2, and he also has them ranked behind the Cardinals. Miller writes that, if not for “that pesky Week One loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers,” he might have the Bills in his top spot. He wrote that Buffalo “proved for one more week that defense can prevail in the NFL,” an odd way to describe a game where their offense put up 31 points on their own. However, the Buffalo defense was able to bottle, harass, and confuse a Chiefs offense that has been indestructible at times over the last three years, so I understand the sentiment.
Vinnie Iyer at Sporting News has Buffalo ranked No. 3, trailing both the Cardinals and the Los Angeles Rams. Iyer writes that the Bills “put up a much better fight against the Chiefs on the road Sunday night,” which, again, is a really strange way to describe a game where the Bills led 31-13 at one point in the fourth quarter. Iyer notes that, thanks to this win, the Bills should be better positioned for the eventual rematch in the playoffs.
Finally, we go to Nate Davis at USA Today, who has the Bills ranked...No. 5...this week, trailing the Cardinals, the Rams, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Dallas Cowboys, in that order. Davis writes that the Bills could continue their revenge tour by beating the Titans, who dealt the Bills their
second first loss of the 2020 season in blowout fashion. That game came one week after before they lost their first second game...against the Chiefs. (Editor’s Note: This is my bad karma for having gently mocked MRW in another article.)