The Buffalo Bills lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, dropping a 9-6 snoozer that had better serve as a wake-up call for a Buffalo team with Super Bowl hopes. Those hopes may still yet be realized, but the team has an awful lot of work to do in order to make it that far.
The Bills have remained within the top five in most NFL power rankings throughout most of the year, but they find themselves teetering on the verge of falling outside the top ten for the first time in quite a while. A loss to a team that hadn’t won on American soil in over six months will do that.
We’ll start with Nate Davis at USA Today, who has the Bills ranked No. 8 this week. He compared Buffalo’s offensive stinker to the 2020 unit, writing that the team seemed reliant on quarterback Josh Allen and only Josh Allen to make a play. Davis must mean the early part of 2020, as that crew rattled off some huge point totals in the latter portion of the year once they found their footing. He called it “concerning” that Bills have only averaged 85 yards rushing over their last three games, a stretch where they’ve gone 1-2.
Vinnie Iyer at Sporting News asked the question that all Bills fans asked on Sunday, ranking the Bills No. 8 this week. He wrote, “What was that?,” and honestly, I have no idea what it was other than a complete beat-down at the hands of a hungry Jacksonville squad. Iyer wrote that Allen needs to “get out of his midseason funk fast,” but I’m not sure I’d characterize Allen’s play that way. Prior to Sunday, he had a quarterback rating of over 100 in five straight games, with a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 14:2 (or 7:1 for those of you who were taught to reduce your fractions like I was). Allen had an awful day on Sunday, and his offensive line acting less like a wall and more like a sieve had something to do with it.
Dalton Miller at Pro Football Network has Buffalo ranked No. 8, as well. He starts off with a sentiment that every Bills fan has uttered at least once in their life, writing “I hate this football team.” Miller picked Buffalo to go to the Super Bowl, but he thinks that the Bills have let him and Bills Mafia down thus far. On Sunday, that was certainly true. Miller notes that of all the confusing football games played on Sunday, this one confused him most.
Josh Schrock at NBC Sports also has Buffalo at No. 8 this week. He writes that the New England Patriots are “at [Buffalo’s] heels,” which is absolutely true at this moment. The Pats are just half a game out of first place right now. Like most pundits, Schrock correctly lays the blame for the embarrassing loss at the feet of an offense that mustered just six points against one of the NFL’s lowest-ranked defenses coming into the game. He thinks the Bills are in trouble if Josh Allen “can’t right the ship” quickly.
Dan Hanzus at NFL Network has Buffalo ranked No. 8, as well. He led off with my favorite Josh Allen quote from the weekend, as QB1 described his play as being equal to what I yell at my dog for eating when she goes outside. Allen’s willingness to take blame and learn from his mistakes is one of my favorite qualities about the young star.
The rankers at ESPN have the Bills ranked No. 8, as well, and Alaina Getzenberg has a bold prediction for the second half. She writes that the Bills will represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. Noting that this wouldn’t have been a bold prediction just a few weeks ago, she writes that the Bills’ horrendous showing against Jacksonville might make some people jump off the bandwagon. Getzenberg writes that Buffalo’s offensive line woes should improve as the unit regains its health, and three of the team’s last four games being at home should help the Bills put everything together for a playoff run.
Nick Wojton at Touchdown Wire has the Bills ranked No. 8 in what seems to be a running theme throughout. He writes that the Bills had their worst offensive performance in at least the last two seasons, which is an understatement if I’ve ever read one. He saw a silver lining, though, in the team’s continued strong play on defense.
Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk also has Buffalo ranked No. 8. In his Village Voice-style blurb, he writes that the Bills “are in danger of losing the division” to the New England Patriots. I don’t think I’d go quite that far, but anything is possible with the way the teams are playing at present.
Finally, we go to CBS Sports and Pete Prisco, who ranks Buffalo at No. 6 this week. He writes that Sunday’s loss “should be a wake-up call for a team that hasn’t played that well in recent weeks.” He also thinks that Buffalo should run the ball more. I think I’d rather see the short passing game utilized more than the run game, but one thing is for sure: When the backs are called on, they need to do more, and in order for them to do more, the offensive line has to be much better than it’s been.