The Buffalo Bills entered Week 14 in the top portion of most NFL power rankings. After a hard-fought, 20-12 victory over the New York Jets, that statement remains true heading into Week 15. However, Buffalo has dropped slightly on a few lists, as rankers chose to dock them for struggling with a feisty New York squad.
We start with one such list, as Doug Farrar at USA Today dropped Buffalo from No. 3 to No. 5 on this week’s list. Farrar asked a pair of rhetorical questions: Are the Bills still capable of winning the Super Bowl this year? Are they a lesser version of last year’s team? To both, he answered in the affirmative, writing that without pass rusher Von Miller and safety Micah Hyde, a pair of All-Pros on defense, it could lead to a bumpy ride in January.
Austin Gayle at The Ringer swapped the Bills and the Kansas City Chiefs in his ranking this week, as Buffalo now occupies the No. 3 slot and the Chiefs slot in at No. 2. Gayle wrote that “There are concerns with the drop-off in efficiency for the Bills offense since (Josh) Allen injured his throwing elbow in the team’s Week 9 loss to the Jets,” adding that “as long as he’s healthy enough to play and contribute in multiple ways, Buffalo has enough to compete for a Super Bowl.”
Dan Hanzus at NFL Network held the Bills steady at No. 4 this week. He wrote that Buffalo should be encouraged by the performance from their defensive front last week, as the Bills were able to harass quarterback Mike White and backup Joe Flacco throughout the day. He shouts out Greg Rousseau, A.J. Epenesa, and Shaq Lawson, who combined for four sacks and a forced fumble on the afternoon.
Dalton Miller at Pro Football Network kept Buffalo in his second tier, ranking them No. 4 once again this week. He wrote that the source of Buffalo’s struggles were hard to pinpoint: was it the weather, the Jets’ solid defense, or a combination of both? He thinks that we’ll learn plenty about what kind of team the Bills really are over the next month, as they still have games with playoff contenders in the Miami Dolphins, Cincinnati Bengals, and New England Patriots.
The rankers-that-be at ESPN held the Bills steady at No. 3 this week. Alaina Getzenberg was tasked with writing about Buffalo’s FPI rankings, which are, unsurprisingly, quite good. Buffalo is third in offense, sixth in defense, and first in special teams, according to the ESPN measure. Getzenberg believes that the offense’s ranking is “a bit misleading” due to their recent struggles, but she gives particular praise to the special teams. She notes new holder Sam Martin as being a bright spot for kicker Tyler Bass this year.
Conor Orr at Sports Illustrated has Buffalo ranked No. 3 this week, as well. He wrote that Buffalo should be better-prepared for their playoff push this year thanks to the degree of difficulty of most of their recent victories. He compared each Bills game to the latter rounds of a Creed-Balboa bout.
Pete Prisco at CBS Sports has the Bills at No. 2 once again this week. He thought it was “good” that the Bills were able to play well on defense without Miller, which makes the second straight week that the team was able to do just that against a divisional foe. Prisco notes that the Bills can “basically” lock up the division with a win over Miami this week, but we know that they won’t officially clinch the AFC East crown this weekend if they win.
Vinnie Iyer at Sporting News has the Bills ranked No. 2 this week, as well. He writes that Buffalo “knew they would get a physical defensive-minded fight from the Jets in the rematch, but they were up to the challenge with Josh Allen creating enough offense.” Iyer wrote that the Bills are “back on track to being the No. 1 seed in the AFC,” which they already were entering the week.
Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk was one of a handful of rankers who put the Bills higher than they were last week. He had them at No. 3, but Buffalo is at No. 2 following their win over the Jets. Florio writes that “TuAnon wants none of the Bills in Buffalo in December.”
Finally, Frank Schwab at Yahoo! Sports has Buffalo ranked No. 2 after placing them at No. 4 entering the week. He wrote that, “The Bills don’t want to see the Jets in the playoffs,” discussing the team’s struggles against Gang Green this year in comparison to the success they’ve had against virtually everyone else. He concludes by writing that it was “huge” to emerge victorious this week — an understatement, given the tenuous hold on the AFC’s No. 1 seed that the Bills have this year.