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It’s still not universal…somehow…but it’s closer
It’s been quite some time since the Buffalo Bills were universally considered a top-ten squad in the NFL. It’s been even longer since most national media types considered the Bills to be a top-five team. However, after a hot start where one player is also emerging as an early MVP candidate, most pundits agree that the Bills are on their way.
Of course, all the adulation comes with a caveat—Buffalo has racked up some impressive offensive totals against two teams that are a combined 0-4. The New York Jets are in the conversation for the worst team in football, and while the Miami Dolphins are on the right path, they are squarely in the midst of a rebuild.
This isn’t to discount what the Bills have done—and if you’ve seen some tweets and interviews this week, you’ve seen plenty of that—because, at the end of the day, the Bills are a professional football team that went out and beat two other professional football teams. Good teams beat the teams that they’re supposed to beat, and that’s exactly what Buffalo has done through two weeks. Doing it with quarterback Josh Allen racking up video-game numbers makes it all the more impressive.
We’ll start our power rankings recap with Nate Davis at USA Today, who still insists that Buffalo doesn’t belong in the top ten. He has the Bills ranked at No. 11, behind 1-1 teams like the New Orleans Saints (No. 6), the New England Patriots (No. 9), and the San Francisco 49ers (No. 10). Davis notes that Josh Allen followed up his first career 300-yard passing game with his first career 400-yard passing game before moving on to the quality of Buffalo’s next opponent, the Los Angeles Rams, who have only allowed one passing touchdown thus far. Specifically, he mentions our old friend Jalen Ramsey, who infamously referred to Allen as “trash” in an interview with GQ in 2018.
Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune has Buffalo ranked No. 6, one spot ahead of the Patriots and two ahead of the Rams. Biggs qualifies Allen’s dominant game on Sunday (“If you can have a breakout game against the Dolphins,” he writes), but notes how impressive it is that the team has been able to win in the manner it has so far. In the past, Buffalo would have needed its defense to bail out the offense. On Sunday, with starting linebackers Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds out, it was the offense’s turn to reciprocate.
Matt Williamson of Pro Football Network has the Bills ranked No. 7. He notes that Allen’s stock is “rising faster than anyone’s in the league right now,” and he names Stefon Diggs as a big part of the reason why. Between Allen taking a huge leap forward and the addition of another legit target in Diggs, who has 16 receptions for 239 yards and a touchdown on 22 targets, the Bills’ third-year quarterback appears to be in great shape. He notes that, like the Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo has faced two bad opponents to start the year, but he is impressed with Allen’s growth.
Scott Bair at NBC Sports is the first of a few pundits who have Buffalo ranked No. 6 overall. Bair notes that Buffalo has become a “truly complete team,” which is nice to see after watching an elite defense and a mediocre-at-best offense for the better part of the last two years. Bair writes that he “loves what they’re doing in Western N.Y.”
Marcel Louis-Jacques at ESPN has Buffalo ranked No. 6, as well. The theme this week at the Worldwide Leader is “under-the-radar fantasy standout,” and Louis-Jacques names Cole Beasley as Buffalo’s representative. He writes that Beasley is a “known commodity” in the NFL, but fantasy-wise, he’s never been a huge producer. Through two weeks, though, he’s seen at least six targets in each game, and he’s made nine catches for 128 yards. Last year, Beasley also saw at least six targets in nearly all of his games, and with Buffalo’s pass offense looking much improved, Beasley could be a smart stash as a flex in deeper leagues.
Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk has Buffalo at No. 5, one spot behind New England. He notes, perhaps a bit-tongue-in-cheek, that the Bills have found “the next Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas,” and that it’s the same guy. For a moment, I thought there would be some insight, as I have long compared Devin Singletary to Thurman (low to the ground, impeccable balance, great receiver), but alas, there was only sarcasm.
Peter Botte of the New York Post has Buffalo ranked No. 5, and he also takes time and column space to praise Allen’s growth. He notes that Buffalo’s first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft has outplayed the two quarterbacks taken before him, Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield, through their first three years. Botte also notes Allen’s consecutive weeks setting career highs in passing yardage before noting Buffalo’s next opponent.
Pete Prisco at CBS Sports not only ranks Buffalo at No. 5, but he also dedicates the intro portion of his column to the Bills. He writes that Josh Allen’s growth has Buffalo looking like “legitimate Super Bowl contenders,” continuing by explaining all of the reasons why non-Billievers are misguide. He calls head coach Sean McDermott a Coach of the Year candidate and also notes that talent on defense. It’s worth the click and the read.
Conor Orr at Sports Illustrated follows a pretty funny intro up with a strong ranking for Buffalo, as he has the squad at No. 4 in his rankings. Orr might be channeling Jim Kelly by asking us to raise our hands if we thought Josh Allen would be leading the league in passing, though it’s more likely that he’s just using a common phrase and not referencing Kelly’s call-out of reporters following a victory at the Superdome over the New Orleans Saints in 1992. While he wants to qualify Allen’s success by noting how bad his opponents are, he acknowledges that the Bills have done this the right way by building Allen a “runway” and allowing him to take flight.
Finally, Yahoo! and Frank Schwab have Buffalo all the way up at No. 3, trailing just the Baltimore Ravens and the Kansas City Chiefs. His column also has an introduction dedicated to the Bills, and it is also worth the click. Rather than having me try to paraphrase it, just know that Schwab loves what Allen has done so far, and he thinks that the Bills have the potential to think much bigger than merely dethroning the Patriots in the AFC East.