NFL Power Rankings Week 11: Are Bills out or just down?

Cam Newton threw four touchdowns and 254 yards as the Panthers beat the Dolphins 45-21.

Through eight weeks the Bills were 5-2 and heading into a winnable game versus the New York Jets. Their defence to that point was one of the stoutest in the league, giving up just 16.4 points per game.

What a difference two weeks makes.

The Bills have now given 81 points and over 800 yards of offence in their last two games, and earned just 31 of their own.

Buffalo fans have been here before as recently as 2015 — staring down a 5-4 team teetering on the brink of a wild-card spot that would put a merciful end to the team’s league-worst playoff drought. But that team went 3-4 down the stretch to finish at .500.

Does this team have a shot? And where do they stack up against the league after 10 weeks? Our panel takes a look in the latest power rankings.

As always, the panel includes editor Geoff Lowe, as well as staff writers Donnovan Bennett, Mike Johnston and Emily Sadler.

1. Philadelphia Eagles

2017 record: 8-1
Previous: 1

The Eagles were big Week 10 winners as they watched from their couches as both Dallas and Washington lost, increasing their lead in the NFC East to three games. (GL)

2. New England Patriots

2017 record: 7-2
Previous: 2

These are the New England Patriots we all expected to see in September. Tom Brady is rolling, the offence causes matchup problems all over the field, and the defence is giving up just over 13 points per game over the last five. (GL)

3. Pittsburgh Steelers

2017 record: 7-2
Previous: 3

Despite their soft schedule Pittsburgh has to be considered a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Going back to last season, Pittsburgh is 14-2 in their last 16 regular-season games. (DB)

4. Los Angeles Rams

2017 record: 7-2
Previous: 4

Dubbed The Greatest Show on Surf, the Rams have the most explosive offence and show no signs of stopping as they posted 33 or more points for the third straight week. This team is built to win. We can’t wait to see how they match up against the Vikings’ strong defence. It’s going to be fun. (ES)

5. New Orleans Saints

2017 record: 7-2
Previous: 5

Drew Brees is on pace to throw for his lowest yardage total since joining the Saints in 2006 yet his offence is rushing for 142.2 yards per game. A 47-10 drubbing of the Bills, on the road no less, was a clear message to the rest of the NFL. The Saints are legitimate Super Bowl contenders.

6. Minnesota Vikings

2017 record: 7-2
Previous: 6

After a 304-yard, four-touchdown performance from Case Keenum, Minnesota is sticking with him even though Teddy Bridgewater has returned. Keenum is quickly making himself one of the most coveted quarterbacks on the market this off-season. (DB)

7. Kansas City Chiefs

2017 record: 6-3
Previous: 7

Despite looking merely mortal with a few losses before the bye week, the Chiefs more or less have the AFC West all wrapped up. Now eying opponents like the Giants, Jets, Chargers and struggling Broncos down the stretch, they should coast through the remainder of 2017. (ES)

8. Carolina Panthers

2017 record: 7-3
Previous: 8

Set a franchise record with 548 total yards of offence against a Dolphins team that simply gave up halfway through the Monday nighter. Cam balled out again. Nice way to head into a bye week. (MJ)

9. Seattle Seahawks

2017 record: 6-3
Previous: 10

It wasn’t pretty, but the Seahawks won the battle Thursday night against Arizona despite taking too many penalties—a trend that needs to stop before it becomes too costly. (MJ)

Russell Wilson saved the game (what else is new?) but the celebration was subdued, however, as they lost some key members of its defence including cornerback Richard Sherman, who’s out for the season (achilles), and Kam Chancellor, who left the game but could be back for Week 11 against Atlanta along with Earl Thomas. (ES)

10. Jacksonville Jaguars

2017 record: 6-3
Previous: 11

Leonard Fournette was held in check for the first time in his NFL career and the Jags didn’t record a sack despite leading the league in the category. Still, this defence forces turnovers at key times and even the special teams chipped in with a fake punt TD run. (MJ)

11. Detroit Lions

2017 record: 5-4
Previous: 14

With another come-from-behind win Matt Stafford is heating up at the right time. Stafford spread the ball to five different Lions in Sunday’s win. (DB)

12. Tennessee Titans

2017 record: 6-3
Previous: 15

They won the battle at the line of scrimmage against the Bengals and held possession of the ball for 40:09. That’s Titans football and that’s why they’re still firmly in the playoff hunt. (MJ)

13. Atlanta Falcons

2017 record: 5-4
Previous: 17

The Falcons lucked out not having to face the now-actually-for-real-this-time-suspended Ezekial Elliott. The defence was clutch, allowing a season-low seven points highlighted by Adrian Clayborn’s huge day which was aided by the Cowboys being without left tackle Tyron Smith. (MJ)

14. Dallas Cowboys

2017 record: 5-4
Previous: 9

Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension obviously changed the Cowboys’ game plan, but the absence of left tackle Tyron Smith was their undoing in Sunday’s loss to Atlanta. They had no answers for the Falcons’ pass rush. (GL)

15. Buffalo Bills

2017 record: 5-4
Previous: 12

The Bills have surrendered 546 rushing yards since trading Marcell Dareus to the Jaguars on Oct. 28—492 in the last two games. Despite being gashed in a pair of embarrassing losses, Buffalo still sits in the second AFC wild-card spot and controls its own playoff fate. (GL)

16. Oakland Raiders

2017 record: 4-5
Previous: 16

The Raiders went into the bye week after an important Week 9 win over the Dolphins, and we’re eager to see how they fare against the Patriots in Week 11 following plenty of rest and much-needed fine-tuning as they prepare for the final stretch. (ES)

17. Washington Redskins

2017 record: 4-5
Previous: 13

An 18-point third-quarter deficit was ultimately too much for Washington to overcome, and now Kirk Cousins and company face a steep climb to remain in the NFC playoff picture. (GL)

18. Green Bay Packers

2017 record: 5-4
Previous: 25

Brett Hundley’s improvement has provided a little bit of hope in Wisconsin. What they need now is a healthy running back to take the pressure of Hundley as Ty Montgomery (ribs) and Aaron Jones (knee) are both hurt. (DB)

19. Baltimore Ravens

2017 record: 4-5
Previous: 21

Not sure if the Ravens would be better off sneaking into the playoffs or getting a top pick in the draft. Coming off a bye week this is the healthiest they’ve been all season. (DB)

20. Los Angeles Chargers

2017 record: 3-6
Previous: 20

The well-rested Chargers had the Jaguars on the ropes coming off the bye, but failed to close the deal despite a sloppy performance from quarterback Blake Bortles. Once again, L.A. couldn’t get out of its own way thanks to a series of costly late penalties, leading to what head coach Anthony Lynn called an “inexcusable” overtime loss. (ES)

21. Chicago Bears

2017 record: 3-6
Previous: 22

Losing as a home favourite to the rival Packers without Aaron Rodgers is the low point to another disappointing Bears season. Scary thing is there is no indication that John Fox or Mitch Trubisky are long-term answers. (DB)

22. Arizona Cardinals

2017 record: 4-5
Previous: 23

The Cardinals couldn’t capitalize on a slew of defensive penalties and injuries from the Seahawks last Thursday night, and only drove home the fact that they need help at the quarterback position. Backup Drew Stanton completed 24 of 47 pass attempts for 273 yards and a touchdown and suffered a sprained knee in the process. (ES)

23. Houston Texans

2017 record: 3-6
Previous: 18

After two straight losses without Deshaun Watson including Sunday’s second-half collapse against the Rams, Texans coach Bill O’Brien said: “I haven’t done a good job coaching this team this year.” Well, Bill, you ain’t wrong. (MJ)

24. Denver Broncos

2017 record: 3-6
Previous: 19

The Broncos’ offensive struggles have officially hit the defence, too, and there was no hiding it on the Sunday night stage against the New England Patriots. Denver’s flawed special teams factored in big-time to the 41-16 loss, which was their fifth straight loss. The club has now allowed 41 or more points in back-to-weeks, which they hadn’t done since the 1960s. (ES)

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2017 record: 3-6
Previous: 29

No Jameis Winston, no Mike Evans, no problem. Ryan Fitzpatrick led the Bucs to an ugly win over his former team, the Jets, but full credit goes to the defence. Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David and the crew held New York to 56 yards on the ground. (MJ)

26. Miami Dolphins

2017 record: 4-5
Previous: 26

After showing signs of life on offence last week, Jay Cutler and the Dolphins were completely stifled by the Panthers on Monday Night Football. Despite a 4-5 record, Miami is far from a playoff-contending team. (GL)

27. New York Jets

2017 record: 4-6
Previous: 24

The Jets are now 1-4 on the road after Sunday’s loss to the uninspired Buccaneers, with their only win away from MetLife Stadium coming in a three-point victory over the NFL-worst Browns. (GL)

28. Indianapolis Colts

2017 record: 3-6
Previous: 27

The Colts had the Steelers on the ropes late in the fourth quarter before blowing it a couple days after releasing Vontae Davis. It’s tough to have success when you don’t have an identity on defence. (MJ)

29. Cincinnati Bengals

2017 record: 3-6
Previous: 28

Marvin Lewis is openly questioning if his injured player, Jeremy Hill, needs surgery and if his fined player, Vontaze Burfict, actually was provoked by a referee like his teammates say he was. Things are getting ugly in Cincinnati — again. (DB)

30. San Francisco 49ers

2017 record: 1-9
Previous: 31

Someone had to win Sunday’s basement battle between New York and San Francisco, and it wasn’t going to be the Giants.

Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard had his best game yet, rushing for a touchdown and registering two more through the air—including a perfect 83-yarder to receiver Marquise Goodwin, whose triumphant performance in the wake of personal tragedy reminded us all that there are bigger things than football. (ES)

31. New York Giants

2017 record: 1-8
Previous: 30

The Giants have equalled their worst start since 1980, and it’s only a matter of time before the coaching staff and front office are overhauled. (GL)

32. Cleveland Browns

2017 record: 0-9
Previous: 32

The Browns lost Jamie Collins for the season to an MCL injury and even LeBron James came out and said they should have drafted Deshaun Watson. It is looking more and more likely that they won’t win a game this year. (DB)

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