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After a big win, Buffalo Bills rise in Week 15 NFL power rankings

Buffalo’s playoff hopes are alive after a thrilling 20-17 win over the Kansas City Chiefs

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NFL: Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills pulled off an upset this week, going on the road to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs 20-17. That game pulled the Bills even with “the field” in the race for a Wild Card berth, and thanks to an epic collapse by the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football, the AFC East crown is still very much in play.

As a result, most power rankers have renewed faith in Buffalo as they prepare to face the Dallas Cowboys this week. While most outlets have the Cowboys right near the top of their rankings, the Bills aren’t far behind them.

We start with ESPN, where their rankings panel has the Bills at No. 8 this week. That’s one spot higher than where they were entering play. Alaina Getzenberg was tasked with discussing a player who’s made the biggest strides throughout the course of the year. She chose tight end Dalton Kincaid, who has emerged as the No. 2 option in the passing game behind Stefon Diggs as the year has progressed. She notes that Kincaid has seen at least six targets in every game since Week 6. Now that fellow tight end Dawson Knox has returned from injured reserve, she expects that the team will continue to hone their two-tight end offense that they envisioned when they made Kincaid their first-round pick in April.

Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk had Buffalo jump five spots this week, ranking them No. 6 entering Week 15. Florio writes that the Bills are “very much alive — and the pressure is off.” I don’t know about that last part, but this is a team that definitely seems revitalized in the wake of the turbulence they experienced over the last two weeks.

Eric Edholm at NFL Network has the Bills at No. 10 this week, two spots ahead of their ranking from the previous week. He writes that the Bills might only be in 11th this week, and they are hosting an elite Dallas club, but the Buffalo team that we’ve seen of late is one that can play with — and beat — anyone. Edholm thinks that the team needs to find ways to give running back James Cook at least 20 touches per game, as the second-year man has emerged into the true dual-threat running back that they envisioned when they chose him in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft. “The Bills might be far from perfect,” he writes, “but they remain dangerous.”

Pete Prisco kept the Bills ranked No. 10 this week. He notes that the team “might have saved their season” by beating Kansas City, praising the defense for “stepping up” in the win. He is one of many who note the big-time nature of this week’s matchup with Dallas.

Nate Davis at USA Today ranked the Bills No. 8 this week, up one spot from where they were entering play. Davis writes that “it seems like the right time to note — despite his flaws — Josh Allen leads the NFL by accounting for 35 TDs (25 passing, 10 rushing).” There’s been a bit of chatter regarding Allen as an MVP candidate, and the consensus seems to be that, had Buffalo won some of those games they were “supposed” to win, we’d be talking more about Allen as a front-runner for that award. Instead, we’ll just have to settle for having a superhuman performer at the game’s most important position.

Josh Kendall at The Athletic has Buffalo ranked No. 5 this week, up three spots from their ranking last week. He writes about each team’s fantasy football spotlight this week, and for the Bills, it’s quarterback Josh Allen. Kendall notes that Allen once again leads all players in fantasy scoring this year with 307.28 points in standard leagues, which is actually his lowest output on a per-game basis over the last four seasons. However, it’s still the 13th-best fantasy output out of the last five years. He notes that, even though Allen “wasn’t spectacular” on Sunday, “the Bills don’t win that game (or many games at all) without him.”
Vinnie Iyer at Sporting News has the Bills at No. 11 this week, five spots higher than they were last week. He called Sunday’s victory the Bills’ first “statement win” since beating the Miami Dolphins in Week 4.

Dalton Miller asks whether the Bills are back in his writeup, placing them ninth this week after having them in 10th entering play. He called James Cook a “revelation” for the team, adding that neither Josh Allen nor Patrick Mahomes played as well as we’re used to them playing in what was a defensive struggle for both squads.

Matt Johnson at Sportsnaut has the Bills at No. 6 this week, three spots up from their perch entering play. He notes that there isn’t much separation between the Bills and the Chiefs at this point, calling Buffalo’s offense “leaps and bounds better than what Kansas City is putting out there right now.” He thinks that the Cowboys “have the offense and defense to knock down Buffalo.”

Jarrett Bailey at Touchdown Wire has Buffalo at No. 6 this week, up four spots from where they were entering the week. Bailey praised Buffalo’s defense for coming up with a big stop in a big spot, and he also praised Josh Allen, who he said “made one of the greatest plays I’ve ever seen when he hit a fadeaway pass over to Chiefs defenders like he was Reggie Miller in the Garden.” That play could have been a disaster, but Latavius Murray’s catch was ruled a catch after replay, and his inexplicable fumble ended up bouncing out of bounds before it could be recovered by the Chiefs.

Ryan Reynolds at The 33rd Team also has the Bills at No. 6, which is up from their 10th-place ranking last week. He notes that the Bills took a huge step towards punching a postseason ticket before he discussed their point differential. Buffalo’s six losses have all come by six points or less, and four of their victories have been by at least two scores. Reynolds believes that the Bills are better than their record, noting that they’ll have to beat at least one top-five team” remaining on their schedule in order to make the playoffs.

Finally, Frank Schwab at Yahoo! Sports has Buffalo at No. 5 this week, up three spots from their place entering the week. He thinks that the Bills can beat anyone in the AFC, noting that they become an instant Super Bowl-contender if they can just sneak into the playoff field. He thinks they need another upset or two as the year ends, and those upsets would come against the Cowboys and the Dolphins.