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Buffalo Bills rise in Week 5 NFL power rankings

Buffalo’s arrow is pointing upward after a 48-20 thrashing of the Miami Dolphins

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NFL: Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills soundly defeated the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, winning a 48-20 contest that began looking like a back-and-forth affair before devolving into a one-sided romp. The Bills were dominant on offense, dominant on defense, and dominant on special teams against their greatest divisional foe.

The victory brought the two teams even in both overall record and divisional record at 3-1 and 1-1, respectively; however, it also gave the Bills the all-important leg-up in the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Bills fans and Dolphins fans certainly took notice of Sunday’s results, but it also appears that those who compile power rankings did, as well. Buffalo has moved up as high as they’ve been all season in some polls, and while I wouldn’t quite categorize their rise as “meteoric,” they definitely are higher on these lists than they’ve been.

We’ll start over at ESPN, where their ranking committee has Buffalo at No. 3 overall. That makes them the AFC’s top team on the list, as only the San Francisco 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles are ahead of them. Alaina Getzenberg was tasked with writing about the team’s defense, listing their defensive efficiency and their biggest issue on the stop unit. Buffalo currently ranks fourth in the league in defensive efficiency, posting a 76.8 number per ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI). Getzenberg notes that Buffalo’s biggest issue on defense is now the absence of All-Pro cornerback Tre’Davious White, who will miss the remainder of the season with a torn Achilles tendon.

Nate Davis at USA Today has the Bills ranked No. 2 overall this week, training only the 49ers in his poll. Davis wrote that Sunday provided a “timely reminder that [Buffalo is] the NFL’s best home team (26-6) since 2020, and [Buffalo] could very well be at Highmark Stadium deep into January. He also notes that losing White is a huge blow to a defense that has looked every bit the elite unit that we’ve come to expect.

Dalton Miller over at Pro Football Network has the Bills ranked No. 3 overall, trailing only the 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs. He notes that Miami looked “unstoppable” offensively through the first three weeks, and the Bills proved that they are clearly stoppable on that side of the ball. He noted that people ignored Miami’s defensive flaws because they were “chasing lasers” down the field, but it was those defensive flaws that bit the Dolphins against an elite Buffalo offense.

Josh Kendall at The Athletic has Buffalo ranked No. 3 this week, trailing only the 49ers and the Eagles. Kendall wrote that we “get to the chaos” with Buffalo, continuing some narrative that quarterback Josh Allen is “Professor Chaos” after he neatly dissected the Dolphins’ defense to the tune of a 21-for-25, 320-yard, four-passing touchdown performance where he also scored on a rushing touchdown. Kendall notes that Stefon Diggs cooked Miami’s defense all day, but he made a mistake on his stat line, writing that he had six catches for 120 and a touchdown. Diggs actually had three scores this week.

Vinnie Iyer at Sporting News has the Bills ranked No. 2 this week, trailing only the 49ers. After praising Josh Allen for “going ballistic with his arm and his legs” of late, he writes that the Bills have positioned themselves as the AFC’s top contender to the Chiefs in spite of a Week 1 stumble against the New York Jets.

Matt Johnson at Sportsnaut has Buffalo ranked at No. 2 this week, trailing only the 49ers in his poll. He write that Buffalo “crush[ed]” the team that many people thought could be the best in the league heading into Week 4. He also makes the argument that “if Josh Allen didn’t bizarrely make decisions like a rookie in Week 1, Buffalo is undefeated right now.” I can’t disagree with him there, as Allen’s four-turnover performance was the biggest difference in their 22-16 overtime loss in Week One.

Frank Schwab at Yahoo! has the Bills ranked No. 2 this week, as well. He writes that [t]he Bills are really, really good and we lost track of that amid the Dolphins hoopla.” He also noted that Buffalo’s underrated strength has been the pass rush, which has generated 16 total sacks in its first four games without future Hall of Fame edge rusher Von Miller.

Conor Orr at Sports Illustrated had the Bills ranked No. 4 this week, trailing only the usual suspects (the 49ers, the Chiefs, and the Eagles). He wrote that the Bills put together “as good of a performance by Sean McDermott and his curated defense as we’ve seen throughout his time in Buffalo.” Orr continued to discuss how the Bills “muddied” quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s first read throughout the contest, adding that “[t]he Bills also ran the ball effectively, complimenting (sic) another otherworldly performance from Josh Allen.”

Eric Edholm at NFL Network has the Bills ranked at No. 3 this week. He writes that Buffalo “turned an early shootout against the Dolphins into a boat race,” continuing to note that even though it wasn’t clear in the early going which offense was better, Buffalo’s defense turned in a great performance by the end of the day. Edholm also speculated that Buffalo has a good shot at being 10-1 by the time they meet the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 12. To that, I say, “One day at a time, good sir.”

Pete Prisco at CBS Sports has Buffalo ranked No. 4 this week, trailing only the 49ers, the Eagles, and the Chiefs. He writes that the Bills “looked dominant” against Miami this week, adding that quarterback Josh Allen “is playing like an MVP again.”

Finally, Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk has the Bills at No. 5, trailing all the usual suspects as well as the Dallas Cowboys, the team Florio has at No. 4. He writes that Buffalo’s Jenga tower has “fully stabilized.”