The Buffalo Bills came into Sunday’s matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars riding high. They had a three-game winning streak, a stretch of play that was so dominant that they removed their starters in the fourth quarter of each contest.
However, through a combination of great play from Jacksonville’s defense, injuries to Buffalo’s defense, and a lack of execution on the offensive end, the Bills left London with a 25-20 loss and a 3-2 record on the 2023 NFL season. The loss in the standings certainly hurts, but it could be argued that the loss on the field in terms of injury looms larger than taking the “L” on the field.
The Bills dropped accordingly in this week’s power rankings. We start over at ESPN, where the power rankers have Buffalo at No. 6 this week, down three spots from their ranking last week. Alaina Getzenberg was tasked with writing about Buffalo’s biggest fantasy football surprise, and she chose the defense/special teams. She wrote that the unit was definitely positioned to be good, but given that they are currently the No. 2-scoring defense/special teams in ESPN standard leagues, that ranking is a little higher than expected.
Vinnie Iyer at Sporting News also has Buffalo ranked No. 6 this week, which is four spots lower than their No. 2-perch entering play. Iyer writes that Buffalo came down to earth this week, adding that the Bills’ Josh Allen “struggled” against the Jaguars’ defense for three quarters. Allen was 15-of-24 for 178 yards and a touchdown through three quarters, including a 2-for-6 stretch in the third where both Dawson Knox and Gabe Davis dropped passes that hit their hands.
Dalton Miller from Pro Football Network has the Bills ranked No. 4 this week, just one spot below his ranking from last week. Miller writes that the Bills “had an incredibly tough day in London,” noting both the loss on the field and in the locker room thanks to injuries. Miller spent most of his writing discussing the advantage Jacksonville had in terms of travel time, body acclimation, and preparation for the game given that they were in London already and the Bills arrived on Friday.
Nate Davis at USA Today has Buffalo ranked No. 5 this week, down three spots from their ranking entering play. Davis notes that just as Von Miller returns, the Bills lose Matt Milano to a broken leg. Davis writes that it may sound “weird,” but Milano might be the more valuable player to Buffalo’s defense. Anyone who follows the team closely knows that doesn’t seem weird at all.
Matt Johnson at Sportsnaut has the Bills ranked No. 7 this week, down five spots from their place entering play. He notes that the biggest problem wasn’t losing the game on Sunday, but instead losing the caliber of players they lost on defense is the bigger issue. He writes about Matt Milano and Tre’Davious White, who was already on Injured Reserve thanks to a torn Achilles tendon, but he neglects defensive tackle DaQuan Jones, proving big No. 92’s point that he is criminally underrated. Johnson acknowledges that Buffalo’s offense is good enough to win week-to-week thanks to Allen and Stefon Diggs, but he doubts whether the team can hold up their Super Bowl aspirations in the wake of the injuries they’ve endured.
Ryan Reynolds (no, not that Ryan Reynolds) at The 33rd Team has Buffalo ranked No. 4 this week, down two spots from their position entering play. He notes that the Jaguars had the “unprecedented advantage” of playing for the second-straight week in London, this time against a team arriving there for the first time on Sunday. Reynolds writes that Josh Allen is an “MVP contender, as always,” so he isn’t too worried about the Bills moving forward.
Eric Edholm at NFL Network has Buffalo ranked No. 6 overall, three spots lower than they were entering the week. He notes that he can “buy” the idea that Buffalo was at a disadvantage waiting until Friday to travel to London to play against a team that had already been there for a week, but he is concerned about the losses the Bills sustained on defense. Despite the loss, he still has Buffalo ranked ahead of Jacksonville, which he writes is because Buffalo has a “better body of work overall.”
Josh Kendall at The Athletic has Buffalo ranked No. 6 overall, three spots beneath where they were at the start of the week. Kendall spends his writeup discussing the lack of usage for rookie tight end Dalton Kincaid, writing that Kincaid has barely cracked 100 yards on the season. He adds that the team hasn’t had much production from their draft class at all. While second-round guard O’Cyrus Torrence would indicate otherwise, Kendall has a point in the sense that the team hasn’t had much production from the other members of the draft class, but third-round linebacker Dorian Williams is about to be thrust into a larger role, and Kincaid is bound to be integrated into the offense more as the year progresses.
Mike Florio and his Jenga tower are back, as the Pro Football Talk head has Buffalo ranked No. 8 this week. He writes that the “Jenga tower is starting to wobble again.”
Tim Weaver at Yahoo! sports has Buffalo at No. 8 this week, which is down from their No. 2 ranking entering play. He notes that there was “no shame” in losing to the Jaguars, but what was more concerning was the number of injuries the team sustained during the contest. Due to those injuries, Weaver dropped the Bills six spots.
Finally, Pete Prisco at CBS Sports ranked the Bills No. 10 overall this week, down six spots from their rank entering play. He writes that losing linebacker Matt Milano, “the heart of their defense,” might be too much for the team to overcome.