Check out how the Buffalo Bills ranked in national media NFL power rankings following Week 11:
Shaq Lawson #90 of the Buffalo Bills (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Last week: No. 6
Buffalo managed the home game displacement and came away with a necessary win to keep their foothold atop the AFC East. The offense was clicking and the defense was dominant, which is the combination Buffalo needs to see down the home stretch.
Josh Allen #17 of the Buffalo Bills (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Has a team ever played a home and away game … in the same building … in a city it’s not based in … in a five-day span? We doubt it but expect Buffalo might soon consider Detroit’s Ford Field its vacation house.
Pro Football Talk
Jacoby Brissett #7 of the Cleveland Browns and Josh Allen #17 of the Buffalo Bills (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
They overcame a crazy week to get a much-needed win. Could it be the thing that galvanizes them?
Head coach Sean McDermott of the Buffalo Bills. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Previous rank: No. 5
The most trying stretch of the Bills’ season entered theater-of-the-absurd territory when a massive snowstorm buried Western New York and forced the team to move shop to Detroit for a “home” game against the Browns. The Bills then played like a team that had literally shoveled its way out of Buffalo in the first half before finding itself in a 31-23 win at Ford Field. The emergence of the running game was notable: The Bills dialed up a season-high 33 runs for 171 yards — James Cook and Devin Singletary each rushed for 86 yards in the win. We’ll see if Buffalo commits to this new balance on offense on Thanksgiving against the Lions.
Bills running back James Cook (28) Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports
They put all the snow issues behind them and looked like the team we expected to see before the season. Now they play the hot Lions on the road on Thanksgiving, which won’t be easy.
Bills defensive tackle Tim Settle (99) Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
(Last week: 5)
Thankful for: A home away from home
After a slow start in their thundersnow-forced home game in Detroit, the Bills settled in behind a non-Josh Allen running game for the first time in a while. Devin Singletary and James Cook combined for 172 rushing yards on 29 carries while Allen rushed just three times — his fewest since Week 2. Then again, this was against the Browns’ run defense, which is among the worst in modern history. Maybe snowblowers are the answer.
Up next: at Detroit, Thursday 12:30 p.m. ET
Bills running back Devin Singletary (26) Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
The Bills were thrown off by a weird schedule of practice during the week and a shocking relocation of their game with late travel to Detroit. They showed moxie by not being fazed by that or falling behind early to the Browns. It worked out nicely as a get-well game for the Josh Allen-led offense. Now the defense needs one of those games against the Lions.
Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports
In 1997, the Broncos were almost trapped in Denver by a blizzard. They found some creative ways to make it to the airport and got to their road game against (of all teams) the Bills. The Broncos won that game and years later the players from that team would talk about how the entire ordeal built character and helped them win the first Super Bowl in franchise history. Whether or not the Bills win a Super Bowl this season might have nothing to do with their travel ordeal to Detroit to play the Browns, but they have to feel pretty good to come out of last week with a win.
Bills linebacker Tyrel Dodson (53) talks to head coach Sean McDermott Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: win vs. Cleveland, 31–23
Next week: at Detroit
I moved the Bills down on the list due, in part, to Allen not looking quite right, and, in part, to the secondary falling to No. 23 in dropback success rate. While Amari Cooper’s performance against the Bills was somewhat of a choice—the Bills brought some pressure in this game and had a third linebacker on the field for 57% of their snaps—they did look situationally sloppy.
Browns running back Nick Chubb (24) Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports
Week 11 ranking: 5
What/who is underachieving? Ball security
The Bills’ offense started the season looking unstoppable, and while Josh Allen’s overall performance has been down over the past four weeks since the bye, the unit has been hurting itself by turning the ball over. The Bills have the third-most turnovers in the league (18) — eight in the past four games — and Allen is second in the NFL in interceptions (10). The Bills also lead the league in turnovers per drive (17%). Protecting the ball consistently with four AFC East games to go will be key down the stretch.