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By: Sean Murphy
A blowout win will have that effect
The Buffalo Bills rose in the eyes of most power rankers this week, which makes sense after a 38-10 thrashing of the visiting Las Vegas Raiders. The fickle nature of power rankings dictate that we overreact to weekly changes. Being just two weeks into a season, it’s much easier to amplify those overreactions.
After Buffalo managed to blow a 13-3 lead against a New York Jets squad missing its starting quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, in a 22-16 overtime loss in Week 1, the Bills needed a bounce-back in a big way. After allowing an opening-drive touchdown to the Raiders, Buffalo dominated the game in all three phases en route to an easy victory.
As for our power rankings, we start with Peter King at NBC Sports. King has the Bills ranked No. 7 this week. He writes that he assumed quarterback Josh Allen’s “turnover-fest” from opening night was an outlier, and for at least one week, he was proven correct. In what will become a theme throughout this piece, King went on to note that Sunday’s result was more like the one he expected to see out of this Buffalo squad.
Dalton Miller at Pro Football Network has the Bills at No. 5 overall this week. Miller noted that Buffalo was able to right the ship one week after “laying an absolute egg” against the Jets. He described Josh Allen’s Week 1 performance thusly: “All [he] needed to do was keep the car on the right side of the road. Instead, he played like Uncle Rico trying to relive his glory days.” That made me laugh a little. Allen was clearly much improved this week, as were the Bills.
The rankers-that-be at ESPN have Buffalo at No. 7 this week, up two spots from their ranking entering the week. Each team’s beat writer was tasked with discussing a player whose contract situation is of particular interest, and Alaina Getzenberg chose wideout Gabe Davis as that player. Davis is playing on the final year of his rookie deal, and after a disappointing third season, he’s off to a great start so far this year. He has eight catches for 124 yards and a touchdown through two games, hauling in 72.7% of the passes thrown his way. It’s a very small sample size, of course, but Davis’ career-high for catch percentage is 53.2%, so he’s either due for some regression towards the mean, or he’s taking a big step forward in a pivotal year for him — and for the team.
Josh Kendal at The Athletic has the Bills at No. 10 this week, up tremendously from their No. 19 ranking entering play this week. He writes that “Good Josh Allen” came to play on Sunday, noting his 31-of-37 for 274 yards and three touchdowns as another elite performance from a player who has had many of them. This was the fifth time in Allen’s career that he’s completed at least 80% of his passes and thrown for at least three touchdowns, according to ESPN Stats and Info.
Jarrett Bailey at Touchdown Wire had the Bills at No. 5 last week, and the team remained at No. 5 after this week’s victory. He writes that Allen, while much more controlled, still tried some “schoolyard BS” during the game. He compared Allen’s attempted hurdle of former college teammate Marcus Epps to a “Jeff Hardy impression,” then noted his sidearm touchdown throw to Khalil Shakir and his across-the-body scoring chuck to Gabe Davis as examples. Bailey also gave Buffalo’s defense a shoutout, noting that they allowed just one touchdown — on the Raiders’ opening drive — and had two interceptions of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
Barry Werner at Yahoo! has the Bills at No. 7 this week. He wrote, “That’s more like it” in describing the way Buffalo looked sharp and focused while pummeling their opponent. His challenge for the team is for them to maintain that level of focus weekly.
Matt Johnson at Sportsnaut also seemed to think Buffalo’s performance was more indicative of their true ability, as he also began his writeup by writing, “That’s more like it.” He ranked Buffalo at No. 7 this week after having them at No. 10 entering play. He thought that Josh Allen was still a little too reckless in that he exposed himself to unnecessary hits. But he also praised the Buffalo defensive unit for its strong performance against running back Josh Jacobs, who gained -2 yards rushing on the day.
Vinnie Iyer at Sporting News has the Bills ranked at No. 6 overall, up from their eighth-place ranking last week. He writes that the Bills took advantage of a “get well game” in which they were the clearly more talented team. He warns against looking past the Washington Commanders this week, since the Bills host the Miami Dolphins in Week 4.
Robert Zeglinkski and Christian D’Andrea at For the Win have the Bills ranked No. 7 overall, up from No. 12 entering play this week. They write that Buffalo “got right” even though Josh Allen “plays football like a weirdo.” They said that Allen still proved he can “overwhelm bad secondaries” with his stellar performance, however.
Nate Davis at USA Today ranked the Bills No. 5 overall, up from their eighth-place start to the week. He wrote that Josh Allen’s turnover-free day was encouraging, but he was really impressed with running back James Cook. The offensive balance Buffalo showed was outstanding.
Pete Prisco at CBS Sports has Buffalo at No. 7 this week, up five spots from the week prior. He poo-poos the notion that Josh Allen was regressing, a common theme among talking heads after his four-turnover performance on opening night.
Eric Edholm at NFL Network has Buffalo ranked No. 6 this week, up two spots from their ranking entering the week. He writes that this week’s result “was exactly the kind of performance Bills fans wanted to see” after last week’s mess in the Meadowlands. He was particularly impressed with Josh Allen’s willingness to allow those “wow” plays to come to him rather than watching Allen force the issue.
Finally, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio has Buffalo ranked No. 7 this week. In his weekly update on the state of Buffalo’s Jenga game, he calls their tower “stabilized.” Thank goodness for that.
Originally posted on Buffalo Rumblings