Fans did not know what to expect from the Buffalo Bills after two killer losses the past couple of weeks. Heck, some of us didn’t even know if the team was going to play after all of the snow that was dumped on Western New York. However, the Bills found a way; the game ended up being moved to Detroit, with Buffalo responding with a 31-23 victory over the Cleveland Browns.
You will notice as we dive into the NFL Week 12 power rankings this week that many of the analysts gave the team props for how they responded this past week—and rewarded them by placing them in their top five teams.
Starting off with Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk, who places Buffalo right at the No. 5 spot in his rankings. Writes Florio: “They overcame a crazy week to get a much-needed win. Could it be the thing that galvanizes them?”
Frank Schwab at Yahoo! Sports put the Bills back at No. 5 after being sixth last week. He compared this team to the 1997 Denver Broncos team that almost got trapped in a blizzard when, ironically enough, they were going to play Buffalo. Former Broncos talked about how that game helped the team build character that would lead to their first Super Bowl. Perhaps we could see the same with Buffalo.
CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco bumped the team up to No. 4, which is one spot better than he put them last week. Buffalo has to go back on the road to face a hot Detroit Lions team who are on a three-game winning streak for the first time in a long time.
ESPN puts Buffalo back up to the No. 3 spot, and talked about how ball security will be the key for them heading into December. Alaina Getzenberg mentioned that the Bills have the third-most turnovers in the league, while quarterback Josh Allen is currently second in interceptions. The good news coming out of the game Sunday was that the team did not turn the ball over on offense, which is the first time they have done so this season.
Vinnie Iyer echoed most of what we are seeing so far in the power rankings with Sporting News. He puts Buffalo at No. 4, applauding the team for handling the hectic schedule that the snow caused for them this past week.
The sweet spot for the Bills seem to be that No. 4 spot, which is were Dan Hanzus with NFL Network has them. Hanzus noted Buffalo’s commitment to the run in the win, writing: “The Bills dialed up a season-high 33 runs for 171 yards. James Cook and Devin Singletary each rushed for 86 yards in the win. We’ll see if Buffalo commits to this new balance on offense on Thanksgiving against the Lions.”
Dalton Miller at Pro Football Network placed Buffalo all the way up to No. 3. Miller notes that while Buffalo scored points on seven straight offensive drives, picking up 22 first downs on the final seven drives after having none in the first three, a red flag is still the red zone offense, which is not finding the end zone consistently enough.
In their highest position yet, Nate Davis at USA Today placed the Bills at No. 2 in his power rankings, and openly wonders if the Bills could become the first team to win a home game, and then a road game, in the same stadium.
Austin Gayle with The Ringer kept the Bills at No. 3, which is where they were last week. He mentioned a quote that head coach Sean McDermott said about how everyone expects Josh Allen to “be Superman.” We have seen Allen throw some costly interceptions the past two weeks, because he was trying to be Superman and force throws down the field. With the running game showing some promise on Sunday, it would be nice to be able to lift some of the pressure off of Allen’s shoulders.
Lastly, Connor Orr with Sports Illustrated places the Bills at No. 3, which is actually a bump down from last week. He mentioned that Allen did not look his best last week, especially in the first half. What could be more concerning, however, is the trend of the defense letting opposing offenses convert on 3rd & Long the past couple of weeks.