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Bills Today: Bills crack the top 10 in NFL power rankings

Posted Oct 18, 2017

Here's the Bills news of note for Oct. 18th.

1 - Bills crack the top 10 in NFL power rankings
In the Week Seven power rankings the Buffalo Bills are as high as number nine in the USA Today poll. Their opponent this week, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, rank as high as 24 in Sporting News’ rankings. Take a look at where the rest of the national media has the Bills as Sundays game approaches.

Sporting News has the Bills at 11. Their defense, which ranks first in the NFL in points allowed per game (14.8), is a large part of that. 

“They went into the bye with a reeling offense, but their surprising start has been anchored by a defense playing better on every level under Sean McDermott,” Vinnie Iyer said. “Tyrod Taylor and LeSean McCoy need to put the team on their backs. This week: vs. Buccaneers, a defense built for them to exploit.”

It’s no understatement that the Bills can exploit the Bucs defense. They’re allowing an average of 403 yards per game. If that holds, it would be their worst defensive showing in franchise history.

Chris Simms, of Bleacher Report, has Buffalo ranked at 13. He sees them making noise in the playoff conversation all season.

“The Bills are going to be in the playoff conversation all year long. They dropped to 3-2 before their Week Six bye, but they are still a major factor in the AFC East,” Simms said.

“On defense, the Bills are well-coached and strong up front. Unlike last year, Buffalo isn’t going to beat itself on defense… Buffalo might not be a complete team, but it’s a tough one that is going to give opponents headaches. Getting jumped by teams like the Texans and Saints while on bye shouldn’t take away from the level of talent Buffalo has.”

2 - Coaches confident in O’Leary’s playmaking ability
Multiple times during Monday’s media day the Buffalo Bills coaching staff praised Nick O’Leary’s playmaking ability. The team is prepared for O’Leary to be the first option at tight end due to Charles Clay’s injury. 

Head coach, Sean McDermott, highlighted his ability to create space in the Monday morning press conference.

“I think the thing that you notice very quickly about Nick is that he gets open. I mean, he finds a way to find open space in the passing game,” McDermott said. “He made some big catches the other week against Cincinnati. Tyrod [Taylor], I believe, trusts Nick in the passing game as well… I think it remains to be seen how high he’ll go. We have a lot of confidence in Nick.”

It’s one thing to be able to get open, but it’s just as important to be able to haul in the passes. Offensive coordinator, Rick Dennison, knows O’Leary is capable of making plays.

“Every time we give him a chance to make a play catch the ball, he does, he catches the ball,” Dennison said. “If you can count on a guy to make a play, then that’s a good thing. We’ll go out there, and he’ll make the plays that we ask him to make.”

3 - McCoy’s notable under-the-radar stats
Anyone who follows the NFL knows the damage LeSean McCoy can do on the ground. He’s also known as one of the league’s top dual-threat running backs. But there are some lesser known stats that add to McCoy’s greatness.

The nine-year veteran has done it all for Buffalo this season. He’ll run, catch, and even throw a big block.

According to Pro Football Focus, McCoy ranks fifth among running backs not allowing a QB pressure on pass blocking snaps. Here’s the top-six: C.J. Anderson (42), Bilal Powell (18), Marshawn Lynch (15), Shane Vereen (14), McCoy (13), and Derrick Coleman (12).

If McCoy is not pass blocking on third down he finds other ways to be effective. He’s not afraid to pop out of the backfield and make big plays. McCoy ranks fifth in the NFL in receptions on third down with 11.

There has been a lot of noise about the Bills running game not being as productive as people anticipated. In response, McCoy has made an impressive effort to help the team in other categories.

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