NFL power rankings, Week 6: Buffalo Bills back on top

After losing to the Miami Dolphins in Week 3, the Buffalo Bills fell a bit in many power rankings polls. Since that time, though, the Bills have come back with two wins—one a stirring come-from-behind victory over the Baltimore Ravens, and the other a blowout win over the Pittsburgh Steelers—which have been more indicative of the team’s standard.

Power rankings are a fickle beast by nature, and people tend to be swept up in the day-to-day of an NFL season. Looking at the big picture, most Bills fans knew that the Miami loss was more of an anomaly than it was an indicator, especially given the injuries Buffalo had on both sides of the ball. The team isn’t back to full strength yet, but they are inching ever closer ahead of a huge matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs next week.

After Buffalo’s dismantling of the Steelers, it should come as no surprise that quite a few power rankings polls have placed the Bills back on top. The lowest they are this week is No. 2, which is understandable given that the Philadelphia Eagles remain the league’s only undefeated team.

We start with Vinnie Iyer at Sporting News, one of the polls where Buffalo comes in at No. 2 this week. Iyer notes that the Bills “have unleashed the full fury of Josh Allen without worrying about forcing a weak traditional running game,” which has also given the Bills the added benefit of scoring so much that teams can’t properly take advantage of a banged- up defense. Iyer writes that this week is an “epic playoff matchup” between Allen and Patrick Mahomes, and while I know he meant that it’s a playoff rematch, it certainly feels like every game between Buffalo and Kansas City that involves these elite quarterbacks will have a playoff vibe.

Nate Davis at USA Today also has Buffalo ranked No. 2 this week. He writes that Buffalo’s point differential, plus-91, is almost twice that of the next-most dominant team (the Eagles, whom he ranks No. 1, and the San Francisco 49ers have a differential of plus-47). Davis writes that the Bills won by 18 points at Arrowhead Stadium last year, although he’s sure to note that it was the result in the regular season only.

Pete Prisco at CBS Sports has Buffalo at No. 2, trailing only the undefeated Eagles in the rankings. He writes about wide receiver Gabe Davis, noting that if the third-year man is “back to putting up numbers,” it makes Buffalo’s elite passing attack that much harder to defend. He writes that the game this week with Kansas City will be “fun,” and I’m sure he’s right—but for Bills fans like him, it might also be a little stressful.

Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk has Buffalo at No. 2, and he also has them trailing the Eagles. He writes that the best way to avoid winning close games is just to avoid being in them, which is sage advice for a Buffalo team that often blows out its opposition.

The rankers at ESPN have Buffalo at No. 2, but they aren’t trailing the Eagles—they’re behind only the Chiefs. Alaina Getzenberg was tasked with writing about playoff probabilities, and the Bills are in great shape according to the Worldwide Leader’s models. Buffalo has a 99.1% chance to make the playoffs and a 90.9% chance to win the AFC East, at least according to ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI). Getzenberg writes that Buffalo’s one struggle has been integrating the running game when it doesn’t involve Allen, and she attributes it to poor play from the guards. He notes that the Bills have a league-worst run block win rate of 65.3%.

Dalton Miller at Pro Football Network continues to rank teams in tiers, not by actual ranking, and he elevated Buffalo into the “elite” tier this week. The Bills, Chiefs, and Eagles sit alone in that tier. Miller writes that the Bills are “about as dominant a football team as there is” when everything clicks, and the only reason that they haven’t stampeded through the league over the last two years is because, well, they’re human, and things happen sometimes. He notes that Allen is “unfair physically as a passer and a runner,” which justifies their standing as one of the betting favorites to win the Super Bowl in February.

The rankers at Sports Illustrated put the Bills at No. 1 this week, writing about how Allen’s absurd level of play makes them a tough beat week in and week out. They note that the Bills are a team that can “play a horrendous game but ultimately still whip an opponent by 30 points,” moving on to note that, thanks to Allen’s prowess and a great scheme from offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, the Bills can do things that other teams simply cannot do.

Austin Gayle at The Ringer also has Buffalo at No. 1 this week, writing that the Bills still sit atop the tier he labels “The Best of the Best.” He notes that Allen is second in the league in expected points added (EPA) per dropback at .31, and he also brings up that plus-91 point differential. He calls the Super Bowl Buffalo’s to lose until it’s proven otherwise, and he lists this week’s meeting with the Chiefs as the team’s greatest test yet.

Finally, Dan Hanzus at NFL Network has the Bills ranked No. 1, noting that the result of Sunday’s game between the Bills and the Steelers was “as one-sided as you might expect.” Hanzus praised Allen for his ability to sling the football through the 20-mile-per-hour wind gusts in Orchard Park. He also wrote: “When the Bills start cooking, there’s not another team in the league that can handle the heat emanating from their kitchen.” We’ll see just how true that theory is this weekend in what should be another great chapter in the Bills-Chiefs rivalry that’s developed over the last few years.

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