Power rankings: Bills creep back into top-10 spots for Week 16

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Here is how the Buffalo Bills fared in national power rankings polls heading into Week 16 following their 31-14 win over the Carolina Panthers:

USA TODAY

10. Bills (11): Win in New England on Sunday, and Buffalo reclaims control of AFC East race. Bills also working on a Super Bowl era (since 1966) record, each of their past 15 victories coming by at least double-digit margins.

Sporting News

11. Buffalo Bills 8-6 (12)

The Bills got well against the Panthers as Josh Allen was sharp passing to his outside receivers and got some help from the traditional running game to boot. The defense also got back on track against a limited Carolina offense to rebuild its confidence at the right time before a Patriots rematch.

Bleacher Report

8. Buffalo Bills (8-6)

Last Week: 11

Week 15 Result: Won vs. Carolina 31-14

A month ago, the Buffalo Bills looked like one of the favorites to represent the AFC in Super Bowl LVI. Maybe the favorite.

Three losses in four games later, the Bills entered Week 15 clinging to the last playoff seed in the conference. They badly needed a strong effort, and they got that Sunday.

Granted, it came against a Panthers team that looks worse with each passing week, but rather than stumble and struggle, Buffalo took care of business by three scores against a team it was supposed to beat.

Combined with New England’s loss to the Colts, the Bills’ win puts the AFC East back in play and jacks up the stakes for next week’s showdown at Gillette Stadium. As quarterback Josh Allen told reporters after the game, Buffalo’s focus is already on that matchup.

“We’re just trying to find ways to win games, and we did that today,” Allen said. “We’re going to need that going forward. We all know who we have next week. It’s no secret.”

By this time a week from now, the AFC East will either be wide-open or all but decided.

NFL.com

9. Buffalo Bills (8-6)

Previous rank: No. 10

The Bills took care of business on Sunday in Orchard Park, beating up on a depleted Panthers team in a 31-14 win that snapped a two-game losing streak. Josh Allen showed no ill effects from the sprained foot suffered in Week 14’s loss to the Bucs, and Gabriel Davis continued his upward climb with two touchdowns and 85 yards receiving. The victory, combined with a Patriots loss in Indy, puts destiny in Buffalo’s hands. Beat the Pats on Sunday in Foxborough and take care of business against the Falcons and Jets, and this frustrating regular season will end with the desired result: a division title and home playoff contest next month. Will these Bills rise to the occasion?

CBS Sports

7. Bills (+3)

They beat up the Panthers, but their division-winning hopes will be decided by this week’s game at New England. Lose, and it’s a wild-card road.

Pro Football Talk

11. Bills (8-6, No. 13): It all comes down to Sunday at New England.

Yahoo! Sports

9. Buffalo Bills (8-6, LW: 9)

For all of the disappointing losses and general malaise with the Bills this season, if they win Sunday against New England they take the top spot in the AFC East due to the tiebreaker (divisional record). They finish with home games against the Falcons and Jets. Crazy things happen but if the Bills win Sunday we can pencil them in as AFC East champs.

ESPN

9. Buffalo Bills (8-6)

Previous ranking: 9

How hot is Sean McDermott’s seat: 1. Cold seat

This could be a cool seat, instead, because of the expectations going into the season for the Bills, but McDermott isn’t going anywhere. If the team manages to beat the Patriots and win the AFC East, it will be a solid coaching performance for McDermott. There certainly have been some tough and questionable moments this season, but McDermott will have multiple chances to take this team on playoff runs.

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