The Buffalo Bills soundly defeated the Washington Commanders on Sunday, winning 37-3 in a game that was closer than that on the scoreboard for much of the afternoon. While it was just 16-0 entering the fourth quarter, the game never really felt close, as Buffalo’s defense was dominant right from the beginning.
Buffalo’s impressive defensive display (nine sacks, four interceptions, one fumble recovery, one touchdown, one meaningless field goal yielded with under a minute to play) continued a trend of such dominance, as the Bills have been incredibly tough on the defensive side of the ball. That unit will face its biggest test this week when the Miami Dolphins come to town fresh off a 70-point outburst against the Denver Broncos.
For now, though, the power rankers of the interwebs seem to think that Buffalo has done enough to earn a top-five placement in nearly every poll. This was largely true last week, as well, but even some of the holdouts who had the Bills closer to No. 10 have moved the Bills up after Sunday’s victory.
We start with Vinnie Iyer at Sporting News, who has Buffalo ranked No. 5 overall. Iyer notes that Buffalo and quarterback Josh Allen have “gotten right” quickly, as he mentions the team’s “dangerous downfield passing game” as one reason. That wasn’t really on display against the Las Vegas Raiders, but Buffalo was able to hit on a few chunk plays against Washington, notably a 35-yard touchdown to wide receiver Gabe Davis and a ridiculous 30-yard dot to wide receiver Stefon Diggs while Allen was under heavy pressure.
Dalton Miller at Pro Football Network also has the Bills ranked No. 5 overall this week, which is exactly where he had them last week. He noted that the Bills did “exactly what great football teams are supposed to do against inferior opponents” for the second consecutive week. He wrote that Buffalo’s defense “toyed” with Commanders quarterback Sam Howell, forcing him into multiple turnovers while sacking him nine times.
Matt Johnson at Sportsnaut has the Bills ranked No. 5, as well, up two places from their No. 7 ranking entering play this week. He writes that Buffalo has played “perfect football” since their Week 1 defeat at the New York Jets, and while I don’t agree that they’ve been quite that good, I see what he’s saying given just how many self-inflicted wounds the Bills endured at MetLife Stadium. He goes on to note that the winner of this week’s showdown at Highmark Stadium between the Bills and the Dolphins will be No. 1 in their rankings next week.
Josh Schrock at NBC Sports Chicago has Buffalo ranked No. 5 this week. He writes that Buffalo “finally looked like the Bills” this week, as they gave the Commanders a “much-needed beatdown” en route to their first road win of the year. I think Buffalo looked very much like themselves the week prior against the Las Vegas Raiders, as well, but I digress.
The rankers at ESPN also bumped the Bills up two places, ranking them at No. 5 this week. Beat writer Alaina Getzenberg was tasked with discussing the team’s biggest issue so far, and she wrote about Buffalo’s first-down efficiency, or lack thereof, so far this year. She notes that Buffalo is just 28th in the league so far in gaining just 4.3 yards per play on that down. Compared to their efficiency on second down (6.7 yards per play) and third down (6.6 yards per play), first down has been a struggle for the team. They’ll need to improve there so as to avoid obvious passing downs against strong pressure defenses like the one coming to town this weekend.
Nate Davis at USA Today has the Bills ranked No. 5 this week, as well. He notes that Buffalo has won their last two games by a combined 75-13 score, which he then immediately calls “just a day’s work in South Florida.” Davis notes that Miami has lost seven straight games in Orchard Park, NY, and 11 out of their last 12 trips up north overall.
Jarrett Bailey at Touchdown Wire has the Bills ranked No. 4 this week. Bailey wrote that “The Bills picked off Sam Howell again as you were reading this,” and much of what he wrote praised Buffalo’s dominant defensive effort. Buffalo leads the NFL in interceptions so far this season, and what he didn’t note is that they’re now tied for second in sacks, too, after sacking Howell nine times on Sunday.
Eric Edholm at NFL Network has the Bills ranked at No. 5 this week, up one spot from his ranking entering play. He wrote that Buffalo’s dominant output was “lost in the Sunday shuffle,” which both feels true and expected given that there was a team that dropped 70 on their opponent this week. He ended by writing that Week 1 “feels like a distant memory.” Thank goodness for that.
Mike Florio at PFT has Buffalo at No. 6 this week, up a spot from where they were last week. He writes that “if the defense keeps playing like it has, they could trade Josh Allen for Zach Wilson and still win.” I’m a little disappointed that we’re not still talking about Jenga, but alas, it’s a new week.
Conor Orr at Sports Illustrated has Buffalo at No. 4 this week, and he spends much of the writeup discussing Buffalo’s solid team rankings early in the year. The Bills are second in scoring, second in points against, sixth in first-downs gained, and second in first-downs allowed. He also writes that quarterback Josh Allen’s poor throw percentage is currently half of what it’s been in previous seasons. While he notes that it’s still early, that’s a big development for someone who was already among the league’s elite.
Barry Werner at Yahoo! has Buffalo ranked No. 4 this week. He doesn’t have much to say about any of the teams, opting instead for a Florio-style, “less is more” approach. He writes about the Bills, “How fascinating is Buffalo’s Week 4 matchup with Miami? (Incredibly.)” That’s an understatement given each team’s success over the last couple of years, the longstanding rivalry between the two teams, and the early season implications of a divisional game between two of the NFL’s best clubs.
Finally, Pete Prisco at CBS Sports has the Bills ranked No. 5 this week, up two spots from their ranking entering play. He writes that the Bills are “rolling now” after another strong defensive effort. He wishes the team luck with trying to stop Miami’s explosive offense, which is rolling at a rate we haven't seen in a long time.