After a stirring come-from-behind victory on Sunday over the Baltimore Ravens, the Buffalo Bills essentially did not move in this week’s power rankings. In years past, that might have drawn some (completely manufactured, to be sure) outrage, but here in the year 2022, it’s because Buffalo was already near or at the top of most power rankings lists.
The Bills have played four games this year. They won the first two by a total of 55 points, lost the third game by two, and won the fourth game by three. Not only have the Bills been in every game, but even when fighting through injuries, they’ve been able to beat their opponents in various ways. In short, this team is elite, and the people who compile power rankings are treating them in a manner consistent with that designation.
We start this week’s power rankings roundup with the rankers at ESPN, who have the Bills No. 2 overall this week, trailing only the Kansas City Chiefs. Alaina Getzenberg was tasked with writing about Buffalo’s defensive rankings, as that was the focus of the week, and she notes that Buffalo is fifth in the league in defensive efficiency. She also had to write about the biggest concern with Buffalo’s defense, and she noted that it’s “injuries.” I don’t think anyone can argue with that, as Buffalo has been without safeties Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer, cornerbacks Tre’Davious White, Christian Benford, and Dane Jackson, and defensive tackles Ed Oliver, Jordan Phillips, and Tim Settle for all or part of the season’s first four games. The bad news is that returns are either unlikely in the near future (White) or at all this year (Hyde) for some of the top players in that group. The good news is that the rest of those players are either close to returning or have already done so.
Austin Gayle at The Ringer has Buffalo ranked No. 1 overall once again. He called quarterback Josh Allen “the best player in the NFL right now,” noting his awesome finish to Sunday’s comeback win as recent proof. After Buffalo went down 14-3 to the Ravens, Allen was “16-of-27 for 182 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 62 yards and another score in the final three quarters of the game” against Baltimore. Gayle also notes that we won’t be able to determine whether there is a team that’s truly better than Buffalo until after their Week 6 matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Dan Hanzus at NFL Network has the Bills ranked No. 2 this week, trailing only the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles. He notes that, at least for the first part of Sunday’s game, the Bills were “getting pushed around by the Ravens during what had the makings of a classic Statement Game for John Harbaugh’s lot, a blowout conquest that would change the perception of two superpowers.” However, Buffalo flipped the script and changed that narrative with a crazy-efficient final 35 minutes. He likened the victory to Buffalo showing some real “championship mettle,” or at least as much as a team can show in early October.
Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk has the Bills ranked second, as well. He leads with that pesky one-score game narrative, writing that “(l)earning how to win close games now will help them win close games later. Like in January.” Never mind that one has little to do with the other, but I will say this: It seemed that head coach Sean McDermott managed the clock and situation at the end of Sunday’s game far better than he has in similar situations in years past.
Vinnie Iyer at Sporting News ranked Buffalo second behind the Eagles, who were the most common No. 1 team this week. Iyer writes that Buffalo’s undermanned pass defense “overachieved” for the second-straight week, and that was certainly helped by the return of All-Pro Jordan Poyer, who intercepted two more passes to bring his season total to four. Iyer notes that Allen “pushed himself back into the MVP lead” with his outstanding performance while leading the team back from a 17-point deficit.
Nate Davis at USA Today moved Buffalo up a spot, placing them second in his rankings this week. Davis also alluded to Buffalo’s previous struggles in one-score games, noting that “winning a tight one probably bodes well” for the team later in the season. Two other tidbits in the blurb: Buffalo snapped a streak of 20 consecutive victories by double-digit margins, and it was Allen’s first career comeback from a deficit as large as 17 points.
Dalton Miller at Pro Football Network didn’t give definitive rankings once again, placing teams into tiers instead. He has Buffalo listed among the “definitely good teams,” trailing the league’s only “elite” team, the Eagles. “Definitely good” feels like a backhanded slap in the face for a team that is elite when fully healthy, but given the fact that they haven’t been fully healthy yet...well, I’m not sure I agree with Miller’s ranking. He writes that the Bills “need to get Dane Jackson back, and they could really use Tre’Davious White back and healthy to help offset the loss of Micah Hyde.” Miller must have missed Jackson’s 69 snaps this week.
Pete Prisco at CBS Sports has the Bills ranked second, up one spot from last week. He writes that the win last week was big-time, adding that it “speaks volumes” about the kind of team Buffalo is. He’s right, really—Buffalo had everything going poorly for the start there, and rather than fold up and try to play for next week, they hung around, fought back, and came out victorious.
Finally, the staff at NBC Sports Boston ranked Buffalo No. 3, trailing the Chiefs and the Eagles, respectively, for second and first. They didn’t add anything of substance to the ranking, choosing instead to discuss Allen’s mocking Bryson DeChambeau after the game.