After earning their third consecutive win last week, the Buffalo Bills seem to be hitting their stride at exactly the right time. Buffalo beat the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, winning 29-15 in what was an ugly game. It’s always better to win an ugly game than to lose, however, so you won’t see me complaining about a victory.
Most of the national media members who compile power rankings agree that the Bills are not just a top-ten team, but they view Buffalo as a top-tier squad with the potential to make a run in the playoffs this year. For a team that began the year with Super Bowl aspirations only to struggle through some poor performances in the season’s middle, the last few weeks have been a welcome return to form.
We start with NBC Sports and Josh Schrock, who ranks Buffalo No. 8 this week. Schrock’s writeup focuses on quarterback Josh Allen’s poor passing performance this week, as he writes that Allen “followed up his tour de force performance vs. the Patriots by throwing for just 120 yards and three interceptions.” Schrock doesn’t mention the 82 yards and two touchdowns Allen added on the ground, but he does note that Buffalo’s beatdown of Atlanta says “more about Atlanta than it does the Bills.”
Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk also ranks Buffalo at No. 8 this week, the same place he had them last week. That’s also fourth in the AFC, trailing the Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs, and Cincinnati Bengals. Florio writes that the Bills “need Devin Singletary to keep doing what he did on Sunday.” A resurgent run game has helped Buffalo of late, and adding balance to a potent passing attack can only help as the Bills look to keep rattling off wins.
Vinnie Iyer at Sporting News has Buffalo ranked No. 9 this week, which is exactly where he had them ranked last week. He writes that Buffalo “stumbled” against Atlanta before “allowing Josh Allen to take over another game.” I’m not sure that I’d go so far as to say that Allen “took over” a game where he had a quarterback rating that equaled his jersey number, but Allen’s two first-half rushing touchdowns were an indication that things were trending in that direction before Allen threw three interceptions. Iyer also mentioned the “welcome support” Allen received from Singletary, who has set career-highs in rushing attempts (169), rushing yards (782), and rushing touchdowns (6) this season.
Nate Davis at USA Today ranks Buffalo No. 7 this week, the same place he had the team ranked last week. He notes that Buffalo has qualified for the playoffs for the third consecutive year, but questions whether they have the ability to stay in the tournament long due to Josh Allen’s interception total. Davis writes that Allen trails only Trevor Lawrence in terms of total interceptions on the year. Oddly enough, Davis doesn’t seem to be worried about Matthew Stafford (15), Justin Herbert (14), Joe Burrow (14), Patrick Mahomes (13), Ryan Tannehill (14), or Derek Carr (14) and their interception totals leading playoff-clinched (and potential playoff) squads.
Alaina Getzenberg at ESPN writes up Buffalo’s capsule, and the power-rankers-that-be at The Worldwide Leader placed Buffalo at No. 6 this week. Getzenberg writes about Buffalo’s New Year’s resolution, which is personal enough that Bill Belichick might like it, but isn’t so personal that the team can’t share it publicly. Getzenberg writes that Buffalo needs to find ways to win close games, as they are 0-5 in one-score contests this year. She notes that it’s more difficult to fix winning close games than it is other things, like “providing gloves for Sean McDermott’s clapping hands or finding a dominant running back of the future,” but it is something that has to be fixed as soon as possible.
Dan Hanzus at NFL Network has the Bills ranked No. 6 this week, up one spot from last week’s ranking. He writes that the Bills “handled business” against Atlanta, correctly writing that the business was handled in the opposite way one would have expected. He notes the uncharacteristic dropped touchdown pass from Stefon Diggs, as well as Josh Allen’s three straight drives ending in an interception. But he also writes about the positive effects of a 233-yard rushing day, a bonus for coordinator Brian Daboll’s offense.
Dalton Miller at Pro Football Network ranks Buffalo No. 5 this week. He writes that the Bills endured a test of what they could “get away with” and still win, singling out Josh Allen as the real culprit in the team’s poor performance overall. While he wrote that Atlanta couldn’t “stick around despite winning the turnover battle and outgaining the Bills on a per-play basis,” he was complimentary of the team’s defense. He called the stop unit “stifling” on third down, adding that Buffalo was clearly the better team, hence the result despite the fact that they played poorly overall.
Pete Prisco at CBS Sports is as high on the Bills as he’s been in a while, ranking them No. 4 this week. That’s two spots higher than he had them last week, and tops among AFC teams in spite of the squad trailing both Kansas City and Tennessee in wins. Prisco writes that it took Buffalo a bit to take control of their win over Atlanta, but the fact that they did so in the second half was a good sign.
Finally, Conor Orr at Sports Illustrated had the task of writing about the Sports Illustrated panel’s rankings this week. Their group placed Buffalo at No. 4, second to Kansas City (No. 2) among AFC teams. Orr wrote that the Bills are definitely a dangerous team, noting that we often forget how good a team is overall when a few weeks don’t go well over the course of a long season. He reminds readers that “[t]his is a team that scored 35 or more points five times this year. Josh Allen is still Josh Allen,” adding that the Bills can still make a deep run in the playoffs.