The Buffalo Bills lost to the New England Patriots on Sunday, falling 29-25 in a game where they were outplayed from start to finish, but still probably should have been able to win. After taking a 25-23 lead with under two minutes to go in the game, it seemed like we’d spend another week talking about how Buffalo struggled with a “lesser” opponent before emerging with a win. Instead, the Bills let quarterback Mac Jones drive 75 yards in 1:46 to win the game.
As a result, Buffalo fell — precipitously, in some cases — in this week’s power rankings. That’s no surprise, as power rankings are generally chock full of overreactions to weekly contests. However, in Buffalo’s case, a three-week stretch of mediocre-or-worse play is starting to feel less like a blip and more like a trend.
We start over at ESPN, whose panel has the Bills ranked No. 10 this week, down four spots from their place entering play. Beat reporter Alaina Getzenberg was tasked with writing about Buffalo’s “young riser,” and she chose linebacker Terrel Bernard as that player. Bernard had a difficult task coming into the year, but with injuries all around him, his play has been nothing short of phenomenal. Getzenberg writes that he leads the team in “fumbles recovered (three) and tackles (68) with 33 more than any other player,” and he’s also “tied for the most interceptions on the team (two) with Milano and safety Micah Hyde.”
Matt Johnson at Sportsnaut has the Bills ranked No. 11 this week, six spots lower than where he had them entering play. Johnson writes that “[e]scaping with a victory over the Giants is one thing, but losing to the New England Patriots is an awful look for the Buffalo Bills.” He continues to note that quarterback Josh Allen played “a little recklessly against an opponent” once again, but I’m not sure what game he was watching if that was his takeaway. Maybe he saw the first-pass interception and that was it, but if anything, Allen seemed to play so conservatively that it left the Bills climbing out of a hole late.
Dalton Miller at Pro Football Network has the Bills ranked No. 10 this week, down three spots from their ranking entering the week. He asks the questions on all of our minds, really: “What are the Buffalo Bills?” I wish we knew, Dalton...I wish we knew.
Vinnie Iyer at Sporting News has the Bills ranked No. 10 this week, down two spots from their previous ranking. He notes that Buffalo was able to “escape” with a win over the New York Giants in spite of some poor play, but some more “missteps” from Josh Allen and the defense led to a scenario they couldn’t overcome against New England. Iyer’s main concern is that the team’s strength on defense seems to have eroded thanks to all the injuries they’ve faced.
Nate Davis at USA Today has the Bills ranked No. 8 this week, down three spots from their ranking last week. He has a bit of a rosier outlook given the dire nature of most of these write-ups, as he focuses on Buffalo’s dominance of late at Highmark Stadium. He writes that the Bills are “23-5 at Highmark Stadium in the regular season since 2020,” so playing three of their next four games at home could help the Bills to right the ship.
Pete Prisco at CBS Sports has Buffalo ranked No. 13 this week, down five spots from where they entered play. He writes that Buffalo “suddenly [doesn’t] look close to being a Super Bowl-type of team. The defense has been crippled by injuries — and it shows.” Fortunately for the Bills, the season doesn’t end in October.
Frank Schwab at Yahoo! Sports has the Bills ranked at No. 10 this week, down five spots from their rank entering play. He dedicates the lead of his column to the Bills, and not in a good way. He thinks that Buffalo’s last three weeks signals the beginning of the end of their time near the top of the league. It’s worth a read — even if it isn’t what we want to hear.
Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk has the Bills at No. 12 this week, down four spots from last week’s ranking. He writes that “the offense needs an intervention.” I agree.
Finally, Ryan Reynolds at The 33rd Team has the Bills ranked No. 10 this week, down four spots from last week's ranking. Reynolds writes that Buffalo has “struggled in some fashion in each” of the team’s last three games, a stretch that has seen the Bills go just 1-2. He notes that there’s “hope” that Buffalo figures it out, but for now, they can’t be treated as a “reliable team.”