The Buffalo Bills begin the 2021 NFL ranked in about the same place that they ended the 2020 NFL season. That makes sense, given that the team came one step away from making its first Super Bowl appearance since the 28th installment of the game and they return nearly all of their starters from last year’s squad.
The Bills look like a team on the rise, and most publications think that they will at least make it back to the AFC Championship Game this season. While vanquishing the Kansas City Chiefs is another issue entirely, the Bills have positioned themselves well to compete for the foreseeable future.
Since it is the offseason, there aren’t many “new” power rankings to choose from as of yet; however, there have been a few lists released here in the early going. Bleacher Report released a power ranking on August 12 that placed Buffalo No. 3 in the league, trailing only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs. The BR staff wrote about quarterback Josh Allen and his $258 million extension, referring to Buffalo’s franchise quarterback as “gifted” in a discussion where the roster as a whole was described as being one of the league’s best.
Jeffrey Chadiha of NFL Network power-ranked divisions rather than teams, placing the AFC East as the third-best division in the league right now. He wrote that the Bills have the roster to return to the AFC Championship Game, but he feels that questions still remain about the defense and its ability to pressure “a certain signal-caller in Kansas City.” Through two preseason games, Buffalo’s pass rush has looked markedly improved over last year’s vintage, though the necessary “it’s only preseason and the games don’t count” caveat is in full effect.
Randy Gurzi at Fansided has Buffalo ranked No. 3 as well, behind the Chiefs and Buccaneers and one spot ahead of the Cleveland Browns. Gurzi wrote about Buffalo’s impressive effort against the Chicago Bears in the Mitchell Trubisky revenge game, as Buffalo’s backup carved up his former team to the tune of a 71 percent completion rate, 228 yards, and two passing touchdowns. He also noted Buffalo’s strong defensive effort, which led to Bears fans booing presumed starting quarterback Andy Dalton off the field.
Cam Mellor of Pro Football Network also has the Bills ranked at No. 3, but the subheading of his power rankings made me smile. It read, “Here’s why we’re all-in on the Buffalo Bills.” Welcome to the bandwagon, Cam...there’s plenty of room! Granted, the article never quite explained why they’re all-in on Buffalo, but I digress. He wrote that the Bills look sharp and well-coached, heaping praise on both head coach Sean McDermott for the team’s preparedness and discipline and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll for his ability to exploit weaknesses in the Bears’ defense last week.
Finally, in ESPN’s power rankings, Buffalo was also ranked No. 3. Marcel Louis-Jacques wrote about the person on Buffalo’s roster who is “on the hot seat,” and he noted tight end Dawson Knox as being that person. Louis-Jacques wrote about general manager Brandon Beane’s offseason comments regarding the need for more from Buffalo’s tight ends, hence the hot-seat designation for the man known as “Rambo.” I think I’d have gone with someone else—defensive tackle Vernon Butler, for example, given the success of the defensive line as a whole and Butler’s inability to remain available thus far in 2021 coupled with his uninspiring play last year—but Knox is definitely in a “prove-it” year. Fellow 2019 Bills draft choice Devin Singletary could be on a hot seat, as well, but his preseason performance thus far shows a player who is inspired by the heat.