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Buffalo Bills sit atop nearly all Week 1 power rankings at start of 2022 NFL season

Expectations are as high as they’ve been in a long time

NFL: AFC Divisional Round-Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

For much of the 2022 NFL offseason, Buffalo Bills fans have heard the hype. The team is expected by most football fans and pundits to be among the best four teams in the league. The Bills are current betting favorites to win the Super Bowl, which will take place on February 12, 2023 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Quarterback Josh Allen is the current betting favorite to win the league’s Most Valuable Player award, as he tries to be the first Bills player since Thurman Thomas in 1991 to achieve that honor.

Bills fans are, clearly, excited at the prospect of the team’s success. However, we’ve all been through it—and you all know what I mean by “it”—over years of tortured fandom. Even when we thought the Bills were out of ways to disappoint us, they seem to invent new ways to rip our hearts out at different points, whether it’s blowing a 16-0 lead in the AFC Wild Card game against the Houston Texans or inexplicably blowing a lead with just 13 seconds remaining on the clock in the Divisional Round against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Perhaps it’s just the jaded Bills fan in me, but as good as this team is, some of the hype scares me a bit in the back of my head. I may not be superstitious, but I am certainly a little stitious, so there’s a part of me wondering how the team will react to being the squad with the target on their back. Of course, there’s a more rational being somewhere in there reminding me that, regardless of expectations or what pundits write, the team’s play will be what it will be.

All of that is a very long-winded way of welcoming you, our fair readers, to the first rundown of power rankings for the 2022 NFL season. We’re pulling from some different corners of the internet for this first week since many of our favorite writers have yet to post their rankings. As always, if you see a ranking I’ve missed that you find to be compelling, or it comes from a writer you admire, please drop it in the comments and I’ll start checking them out in future editions.

Our first ranking comes from Josh Schrock at NBC Sports, and it’s Buffalo’s lowest ranking that I could find. He has the Bills at No. 2 entering the season, trailing only the Chiefs as the year commences. Schrock notes that the hype surrounding the Bills is “through the roof,” and he wonders whether a team with “limited playoff success” can handle the pressure that comes with said hype. Schrock’s assessment of the team’s chances aren’t going to win him any friends among #BillsMafia, as he writes that “Buffalo’s history tells us there won’t be a parade in Orchard Park come February.” I hope to send that quote to Old Takes Exposed in 23 weeks or so.

John Breech at CBS Sports didn’t do a traditional power ranking, but he instead did a detailed prediction as to how the season would play out from start to finish. He has Buffalo finishing with the league’s best record at 13-4, earning the No. 1 seed in the AFC Playoffs. That’s the best news of the prediction, though, as he also has Buffalo being upset in their first playoff game by his pick to be the eventual Super Bowl Champions, the Denver Broncos.

Vinnie Iyer at Sporting News has Buffalo ranked No. 1, and he notes the improvements in Buffalo’s personnel being enough to offset the loss of offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. Perhaps a bit ironically, two of the four players he mentions aren’t actually new players, as Isaiah McKenzie and Gabe Davis are highlighted for their readiness to step into larger roles replacing the departed Cole Beasley and Emmanuel Sanders. Iyer also mentions rookie running back James Cook and veteran edge rusher Von Miller as big additions to a stellar Buffalo roster.

Dan Hanzus at NFL Network has Buffalo ranked No. 1, as well, and he highlights some uncertainty in the team’s defensive secondary. Granted, his piece was filed on August 9, but some of the question marks still apply, as the team is without All-Pro cornerback Tre’Davious White for at least the season’s first month, leaving rookies Kaiir Elam and Christian Benford in line for significant playing time across from third-year man Dane Jackson. Factor in Jordan Poyer coming back from an elbow injury and there are some questions left to be answered, especially against a high-octane Los Angeles Rams offense on Thursday night.

Randy Gurzi at Fansided has Buffalo ranked No. 1, and he highlights a lot of the same suspects that everyone else has. With a stud quarterback in Josh Allen, an up-and-coming WR2 in Gabe Davis to complement Stefon Diggs, an athletic rookie corner in Kaiir Elam, and a future Hall of Fame pass rusher in Von Miller, there is no shortage of star power in Orchard Park. Gurzi speculates that, had Buffalo been able to stop Kansas City in those fateful 13 seconds, that the Bills would have been the AFC Super Bowl representative. I know we’ve all had that thought at least 4,327 times in the last eight months.

Austin Gayle at The Ringer has Buffalo ranked No. 1, sitting atop their “Super Bowl or Bust” tier of teams. The others in that tier include the No. 2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, No. 3 Kansas City Chiefs, No. 4 Green Bay Packers, and No. 5 Los Angeles Rams. Gayle notes that general manager Brandon Beane has “ built one of the best and deepest rosters in the league,” adding that head coach Sean McDermott’s defense in particular is in for a big test on Thursday night. He also notes that Josh Allen is among the most talented quarterbacks in football, justifying the betting public’s faith in putting the Bills at the top odds to win the Super Bowl.