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Buffalo Bills drop in real standings, rise in most Week 14 NFL power rankings

If only there were a professional playoff committee

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NFL: Cleveland Browns at Los Angeles Rams Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills find themselves in a precarious situation this season. At 6-6, they’re currently No. 11 in the AFC, which is one spot lower than they were entering their bye week. A thrilling 34-31 overtime victory by the Cincinnati Bengals over the Jacksonville Jaguars pulled Cincinnati to 6-6. By virtue of their win over Buffalo earlier this year, they find themselves ahead of the Bills at the moment.

In spite of that, most of those in charge of power rankings watched this week’s slate of games and put the Bills higher up than they were entering the week. Now, if the team could respond with a few much-needed victories in real life, that would do wonders for the club’s dwindling playoff hopes.

We start at The Athletic, where Josh Kendall bumped the Bills up one spot to No. 8 this week. He wrote about each team’s worst-case scenario, and for the Bills, he summed it up thusly: “They’re living it.” Yep, a .500 record at this point just one year removed from a 13-3 finish is definitely a worst-case scenario, especially given the difficult schedule that lies ahead. Kendall notes that injury has played a large part in this, as “16% of Buffalo’s salary cap is on injured reserve, according to Spotrac.”

Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk ranked Buffalo No. 11 this week, up three spots from their ranking entering the bye week. He notes that “If [the Bills] work their way to the postseason, they could be dangerous.” That’s definitely true, as nobody wants to deal with quarterback Josh Allen piloting a No. 6 seed as their opening matchup.

Nate Davis at USA Today ranked Buffalo No. 9 this week, up two spots from their place entering play. He writes about edge rusher Von Miller, who turned himself in after an arrest warrant was issued for a domestic violence incident early last week. Davis writes about the football consequences of Miller’s “likely” loss — or lack thereof given Miller’s lack of impact on the field — noting that it’s definitely the least-important thing to focus on given the severity of the allegations.

Pete Prisco at CBS Sports has Buffalo ranked at No. 10 this week, up two spots from their ranking entering play. He notes that Buffalo comes out of the bye week “with a big game at Kansas City with the Chiefs.” That’s an understatement, as Buffalo doesn’t quite face a must-win scenario, but it’s about as close as it can be. Prisco notes that the Bills at least need to win one of the next two — at the Chiefs this week or at home against the Dallas Cowboys on December 17 — if they want any shot at the postseason.

Dalton Miller at Pro Football Network has the Bills at No. 10, up three spots from their place entering the week. He writes that Buffalo’s hanging around in spite of a “rash” of injuries on defense, but he also notes that quarterback Josh Allen has them playing well enough to stick close to the playoff picture. Given those matchups against the Chiefs and the Cowboys, plus a Week 18 date with the Miami Dolphins, Miller thinks that Allen will have to play at a “heroic” level in order for the Bills to qualify for the postseason.

Vinnie Iyer at Sporting News has Buffalo at No. 16 this week, which is three spots below where he had them entering the bye. He writes that the Bills are “quickly losing their margin of error to earn an AFC wild-card berth, but the good news is none of the other AFC wild-card contenders in front of them are running away with the race.” Given the injuries to starting quarterbacks in Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Jacksonville, that does leave the field quite wide-open.

Ryan Reynolds at The 33rd Team kept the Bills at No. 10 this week. He writes that Buffalo might be “the most dangerous 6-6 team in recent memory.” Given their difficult remaining schedule, he thinks the playoffs are definitely going to be a stretch, but he also notes that the Bills “have the raw materials to go 4-1 or better” over the season-ending schedule.

Frank Schwab at Yahoo! Sports has the Bills at No. 8 this week, up two spots from their ranking entering the bye. He writes that Buffalo is still “10th” in the AFC standings — they’re actually 11th — but “the good news is other AFC playoff hopefuls keep losing.” Those hopefuls will have to continue losing, and the Bills will have to string together some wins, in order to avoid missing out on the playoffs for the first time since Josh Allen’s rookie year.

Eric Edholm at NFL Network kept the Bills at No. 12 this week. He writes that Buffalo’s next two games should define the rest of the season. With two losses, it’s probably over. With two wins, the season could essentially be salvaged. With a split, the Bills will continue being what they’ve been all season long. He adds that Josh Allen was “the Allen the Bills need down the stretch” in their overtime loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in their last game.

Finally, the panel at ESPN ranked Buffalo at No. 9 this week, up one spot from their place entering Week 13. Alaina Getzenberg was tasked with writing about the team’s pleasant surprise this season, and she wrote about linebacker Terrel Bernard. He’s an easy choice given the success he’s had in replacing Tremaine Edmunds, who signed a huge contract with the Chicago Bears in the offseason. Bernard has been better than Edmunds in every category, and in a year where the defense has suffered so many injuries, the second-year linebacker has been a stabilizing force.