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NFL power rankings Week 8: Buffalo Bills still up top

A week off didn’t change many minds

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NFL: Green Bay Packers at Buffalo Bills Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills went into their bye week riding high, coming off a 24-20 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs to hit their break with a 5-1 record. After a week to rest and recover, the Bills remain at the top of most of this week’s NFL power rankings, as a week without playing did little to show that they aren’t among the league’s top two teams. Buffalo is, once again, either No. 1 or No. 2 in each major ranking.

We start with Frank Schwab at Yahoo! Sports, who highlights the difficulty in Buffalo’s upcoming schedule while ranking them No. 1 overall. He writes that the Bills face the 3-4 Green Bay Packers this week, and while they may look weak of late, they still have one of the best quarterbacks ever to play in Aaron Rodgers. Buffalo then faces off against the 5-2 New York Jets and the 5-1 Minnesota Vikings in consecutive weeks. Schwab feels that, if the Bills can exit that stretch an 8-1 club, that little will be able to stop them.

The pollsters at ESPN have Buffalo at No. 1, as well, and beat writer Alaina Getzenberg describes Buffalo’s dominance by highlighting their point differential on the season. The Bills sit at plus-95 on the season, which is a full 39 points better than the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles’ point differential this year. ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) ranks the Bills’ schedule as the league’s sixth-hardest thus far, and Getzenberg notes that Buffalo is 4-0 against last year’s playoff teams that they’ve faced so far. The average margin of victory in those games is 23.5 points.

Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk has Buffalo ranked No. 2, trailing only the undefeated Eagles in this week’s ranking. He writes that “the Packers should consider staying home” this week, which isn’t giving Green Bay nearly enough credit. They may be in the midst of a rough stretch right now, but they still have Aaron Rodgers and a defense that has allowed just 1,182 yards and six touchdowns through the air this season in seven games. Both of those totals are best in the league.

Dan Hanzus at NFL Network has Buffalo ranked No. 1, and he wrote about quarterback Josh Allen being the early-season frontrunner for league MVP. If he were to win the honor, he’d be just the second Buffalo player to do so, joining running back Thurman Thomas, who won the award in 1991. Hanzus highlighted Allen’s success against the Chiefs on throws downfield, as Allen was 9-of-10 for 204 yards and three touchdowns on throws that traveled at least 15 yards in the air.

Austin Gayle at The Ringer has Buffalo at No. 1 this week, and while he acknowledges that the Chiefs earned the right to be praised after their beatdown of the San Francisco 49ers last week, he doesn’t feel that it merits a change in Buffalo’s placement this week. “Josh Allen is still the favorite to win MVP,” he writes, “and Buffalo is still the favorite to win the Super Bowl, and rightfully so on both counts.”

Pete Prisco at CBS Sports has Buffalo ranked No. 2 this week, trailing just the Eagles in his poll. He writes that the primetime matchup between Buffalo and Green Bay seemed like a marquee game when the schedule was released, but thanks to the Packers’ three-game skid, the game has “lost some of its luster.”

Vinnie Iyer at The Sporting News kept the Bills at No. 2 this week, and he wrote about the importance of Buffalo building on their victory in Kansas City. Last year, the Bills beat the Chiefs in the regular season, only to falter in the middle of the year, giving homefield advantage in the postseason back to the Chiefs. This time, Iyer writes, it’s imperative for the Bills to make sure that they maintain their grasp on that first overall seed in the conference.

Conor Orr at Sports Illustrated gives a good news, bad news take on Buffalo, whom he ranks at No. 1 this week. He writes that the Bills are just 18th overall in red zone efficiency this year, and that they have committed the third-most turnovers in the league to date. “Imagine when those numbers trend back toward neutral,” he writes. The Bills have been the best team in the league’s best conference in spite of those numbers, so if they can correct those flaws, look out.

Finally, Nate Davis at USA Today has the Bills ranked No. 1 overall. He writes that Allen is on pace to break the league record for passing yards in a season. Allen is on pace to throw for 5,610 yards, but he’s facing a Green Bay defense that allows just 168.9 yards per game this year. Davis writes that Green Bay hasn’t allowed a passer to throw for 270 yards in a game this year, but that’s technically incorrect—Kirk Cousins threw for 277 in Week 1, and Tom Brady threw for 271 in Week 3. The Packers have also shut down the likes of Zach Wilson, Daniel Jones, Justin Fields, and Bailey Zappe en route to their top billing as a pass defense. Allen is sure to provide them with a different kind of challenge.