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I can’t believe I need the qualifier in that statement
Heading into the second week of the 2020 NFL season, the Buffalo Bills look almost exactly as most fans expected. They sit atop the AFC East, tied with the New England Patriots, and they took care of business in Week 1 against a poor New York Jets squad.
For once, the fans’ read on Buffalo’s performance seems to align with the national pundits’ thoughts on the team and, as a result, the Bills find themselves in the top ten of most power rankings heading into Week 2.
I have to say “most,” however, because even after a 27-17 victory over the Jets (that easily could have been a 41-10 victory), Nate Davis at USA Today dropped the Bills two spots, as the team fell from No. 10 to No. 12 after one game. Davis was unimpressed with the team beating the Jets, and he added that quarterback Josh Allen has to be “far more consistent” if the Bills are going to replace the Patriots as division champions. Davis must have seen the John Brown toss, but perhaps he missed Allen’s other 45 throws, 33 of which he completed for a career-high 312 yards.
The Bills find themselves at No. 8 on The MMQB’s list, a full four spots higher than last week. Mitch Goldich writes that the team “took care of business against a listless Jets team,” and noted the ups-and-downs of Allen’s day. He called the race between Buffalo and New England something to watch all season long, and while he has New England ranked one spot ahead of Buffalo for now, he called the two teams “tied at the hip for now.”
The Ringer has teams ranked into tiers, and while Buffalo doesn’t crack the “top shelf” teams, they find themselves third from the top of the “contenders” tier at No. 8 on the list. Danny Kelly wrote about two teams from each tier, and he spent time writing about the top of the contenders tier (the Green Bay Packers, No. 6 overall) and the second-from-the-last squad (the Arizona Cardinals, No. 13 overall) instead. He wrote nothing specific to Buffalo.
Marcel Louis-Jacques provides some insight in ESPN’s ranking, which has the Bills at No. 7 overall. The week’s theme was “top rookie debut, and Louis-Jacques awarded the top status to running back Zack Moss for the Bills. Moss wins almost by default, as the only other rookie to log significant playing time was wide receiver Gabriel Davis. Moss caught a touchdown pass in his debut, and while he was ineffective as a runner (nine carries, 11 yards), his 46% snap share with starting running back Devin Singletary shows Louis-Jacques that the Bills trust the rookie early.
Pete Prisco at CBS Sports has the Bills at No. 6 overall. He mentioned Allen’s first career 300-yard passing output, but also says that the team could be a “deep playoff team” if Allen’s game continues to improve. He mentioned that Allen is “much improved” as it is.
The Bills are also sitting at No. 6 overall in the power rankings at NBC Sports. Scott Bair gives a nod to those who would say that the Bills “only” beat the Jets, but he says that while they could discount the victory due to the lack of a quality opponent, they won’t. He said that the Bills looked “really, really good” on Sunday, and he also thinks that Allen may have come into his own.
Vinnie Iyer at The Sporting News has Buffalo at No. 5, saying that the team “had their way” with the Jets all afternoon. He also praised quarterback Josh Allen, saying the he looked “every bit the part of a complete Year 3 quarterback. He called the Bills “the new AFC East favorites” and commended their defense, as well.
Finally, Frank Schwab at Yahoo! has the Bills all the way in the rarefied air of the No. 4 spot, behind only the Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs, and New Orleans Saints, respectively. Schwab’s write-up was so good and captured the game (and the subsequent idiotic din of post-game Twitter analysis) so well that I don’t even want to parse it or paraphrase it. He wrote, “Social media had fun with Josh Allen missing an easy touchdown pass in the end zone, but anyone who watched the Bills dissect the Jets knows how good Allen was on Sunday. Yes, he is going to miss some easy throws. That will always be a part of his game. But he can also make a lot happen with his arm and his legs, and his performance on Sunday was a positive step, regardless of what you might have seen on Twitter.”