The Buffalo Bills entered Week 9 as the No. 1 seed in the AFC and a strong Super Bowl favorite. After a 20-17 loss to the New York Jets, the Bills are still the No. 1 seed in the conference, and they are still a favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl in February. However, their standing in the Week 10 NFL power rankings has fallen just a bit after the loss.
The cliché goes that the NFL is a week-to-week league, and that its actual acronym is Not For Long. With that in mind, it’s not terribly surprising that the Bills dropped a bit in the rankings this week after putting up a stinker in New Jersey. That’s not a knock on the Jets, who played a great game and came out with their sixth win of the season. It is, though, an indication of how much we’ve come to expect from the Bills.
We start our rankings roundup with the pollsters at ESPN, who have Buffalo at No. 3 this week. That trails the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs. Alaina Getzenberg was tasked with writing about the team’s non-QB MVP, and she selected edge rusher Von Miller. Getzenberg wrote that the veteran pass rusher’s impact on the defense has extended well beyond his own excellent play.
Dan Hanzus at NFL Network has the Bills ranked No. 2 overall, trailing only the Eagles. He writes that the loss to the Jets is a “wake up call” for Buffalo, which sounds similar to what many people wrote after the Bills lost to the Miami Dolphins in Week 3. Hanzus rightly called the Jets’ cornerbacks, Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed, “spectacular,” as they were able to neutralize Buffalo’s high-powered passing attack. He gave props to the Jets’ front four, too, who hit, harassed, and hurried quarterback Josh Allen all day long.
Pete Prisco at CBS Sports has Buffalo ranked No. 4 this week, trailing the Eagles, the Chiefs, and the Minnesota Vikings, Buffalo’s Week 10 opponent. He thinks that Buffalo needs to play with greater pace on offense, but he tempers that thought with some warning that Allen’s elbow injury “bears watching.” Until we know about Allen’s arm, we’re all going to be watching our notifications this week.
Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk ranked Buffalo lowest this week, placing them at No. 5. That’s below the four teams that Prisco had, and it’s also lower than the Dallas Cowboys, whom he ranks at No. 4 this week. Florio derisively writes that the Bills’ October victory over the Kansas City Chiefs will be meaningless in the playoffs “if they sleepwalk their way through games they should easily win.” While I agree that the Bills should have been able to beat the Jets, that seems unnecessarily dismissive of just how good New York is, especially on defense.
Austin Gayle at The Ringer has Buffalo at No. 2 this week, trailing only Philadelphia in his “Best of the Best” tier. He used Allen’s words to sum the game up well, quoting Allen’s postgame comments about winning when quarterbacks play terribly. He agrees with Allen’s self-assessment, and notes that this needs to be the last bad game from Allen if the Bills are going to fulfill their Super Bowl aspirations.
Frank Schwab at Yahoo! Sports has Buffalo ranked No. 2 this week. He writes that the Bills “can’t lose games like they lost Sunday,” noting that a Super Bowl-caliber team shouldn’t lose when they’re favored by as much as Buffalo was in Week 9. He credits the Jets for playing well, but he also gives Bills fans a reality check that we’re all painfully aware is true: “...the top seed and Super Bowl talk ends if Josh Allen’s elbow is seriously injured.”
Dalton Miller at Pro Football Network used his tier system again, but he finally went back to ranking the teams in order, as well. He still has Buffalo in the “elite” tier, but he has them as the league’s No. 2 team, trailing the Eagles. Miller writes that Buffalo’s weakest unit may be the offensive line, stating that it isn’t so much that the line is “bad” as much as the line is decidedly average on a team without a glaring weakness. That’s a fair assessment, as Buffalo’s offensive line was handled with ease by the Jets’ defensive front.
Nate Davis at USA Today has Buffalo ranked No. 2 this week. He writes that he’s “not ready to overreact to a road loss to a tough, physical NYJ squad.” He does speculate, though, that not being aggressive at the trade deadline could come back to haunt them. He doesn’t write what position he’d have added, but I have to imagine that he’s referring to wide receiver, especially after another uneven performance from Gabe Davis.
Vinnie Iyer at Sporting News has the Bills ranked No. 2 this week. He writes that Buffalo needs to clean up its run defense, as the team is “showing a major issue against teams that stick with the run game.” He also noted, like many others, that Allen did not play well on Sunday.
Finally, the pollsters at Sports Illustrated ranked Buffalo No. 2 this week. One voter left them at No. 1, while one voter dropped them as low as No. 3. Ultimately, they wrote that the Bills still have the inside track to be the AFC’s No. 1 seed, even if it feels like that isn’t true given the loss last week.