The Buffalo Bills lost to the New England Patriots on Monday night, falling 1.5 games behind their eternal tormentors and settling into second place in the AFC East. As a result, I assumed that Buffalo might have plummeted in the Week 14 NFL power rankings, but I was wrong.
We’ll start with Vinnie Iyer at Sporting News, who kept Buffalo in the No. 8 spot for a second straight week. He files his rankings before Monday Night Football, so his writeup discusses Buffalo’s win over the New Orleans Saints and the opportunity Buffalo had last night to overtake the Patriots for the divisional lead. Oh, what could have been.
Dan Hanzus at NFL Network has Buffalo ranked No. 7 this week, down one spot from his rankings last week. He notes that Buffalo’s already-maddening season hit a “new level of frustration” this week, which is hitting the proverbial nail directly on the head. Hanzus assessed the game fairly, noting that quarterback Josh Allen made good use of his strong arm, but he also missed some key throws and reads that could have turned the outcome in Buffalo’s favor. He feels that it’s “gut-check time” for the Bills as they travel to Florida to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week.
Doug Farrar at USA Today actually moved Buffalo up a spot this week, as the Bills went from No. 11 to No. 10 in his rankings. He notes that the team is in danger of falling out of playoff contention this week with a tough road game at Tampa Bay, a dreadful fall for a team that was a sexy Super Bowl pick over the summer. He also highlighted the tense exchange between Bills safety Micah Hyde and WIVB reporter Jerry Sullivan after the game.
Frank Schwab at Yahoo! dropped Buffalo two spots, ranking them No. 9 this week. He noted that it was “hard” to play in the weather conditions on Monday night, and he also noted that the Bills nearly pulled out the victory. Rather than paraphrase his main takeaway, though, I’ll give the direct quote: “But this is the truth: They’re a team just two games over .500 that is a game-and-a-half back in the AFC East and New England has the edge in the tiebreaker too. It’s hard to say this Bills season has been anything other than disappointing to this point.” It’s hard to disagree.
Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk also dropped Buffalo two spots this week, placing them at No. 11 in his rankings. He was short and not-so-sweet about Buffalo’s progress, writing that the team “waited too long to throw caution, and footballs, to the wind” in Monday’s loss.
Barry Werner at USA Today’s Listwire also has Buffalo ranked No. 11 this week. He noted that Buffalo has three losses at home against conference foes, as they’ve lost in Orchard Park against the Patriots, the Indianapolis Colts, and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Werner noted one of head coach Sean McDermott’s head-scratching decisions from the night, highlighting the challenge on a Mac Jones fourth-down conversion that lost one of Buffalo’s three timeouts in the second half.
Dalton Miller at Pro Football Network has Buffalo ranked No. 7 this week. He wrote that the conditions made Monday’s game something that barely resembled modern football, giving people little to take away from the game. I disagree there, as it just highlighted what is going to be (and has been, frankly) Buffalo’s fatal flaw: they are unable to handle any team that wants to come in and physically dominate them.
The panel of rankers at ESPN dropped Buffalo one spot, placing them at No. 8 this week. Each team’s beat writer was tasked with writing about a player who needs to step up, and Getzenberg picked quarterback Josh Allen. That’s an odd choice given that it feels like Allen is trying to do too much due to the non-existent running game, but if the team is going to make a run, they are going to need Superman to be, well, super. Getzenberg highlighted Allen’s turnovers as something he needs to avoid, and he did so in the windy conditions on Monday night.
Finally, Pete Prisco has the Bills at No. 7, down one spot from his ranking a week ago. He feels that Buffalo will be taking the “Wild Card-route” if they are to make the playoffs after their loss to the Patriots. He also harped on their inability to stop the run while mentioning that the schedule isn’t any easier with this week’s contest against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.