What they're saying: Bills at the edge of the top 10 in NFL power rankings

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No. 8 – Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo Bills don't beat themselves and they make opponents work for everything when on defense. What head coach Sean McDermott is doing with that unit is incredible. Aside from A.J. Green, the Bills have contained the other team's best skill-position player. 

The Bills shut down the Raiders all game and forced four turnovers. One of those turnovers came on special teams, and that shows a three-phase win.

It's still amazing to see what running back LeSean McCoy is able to do on the field. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor also deserves more credit than he gets. He is playing the way McDermott wants from his signal-caller. He makes some plays with his legs, takes care of the ball and makes the occasional deep completion.

The Bills aren't one of the elite teams in the NFL, but they're certainly a playoff-caliber one.

No. 9 – Buffalo Bills

Sean McDermott is in the conversation for Coach of the Year. He's done a heck of a job, but the next five weeks will define this team. The schedule gets tougher.

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NFL.com, Elliot Harrison](http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000870289/article/nfl-power-rankings-week-9-houston-texans-rise-despite-loss?campaign=tw-nf-sf129436807-sf129436807&sf129436807=1)

No. 9 – Buffalo Bills

Gonna put myself out there and say the Bills make the postseason. A few folks felt I put them too high after the Week 4 win in Atlanta. But with two wins in the last three games -- and a shiny 5-2 record overall -- Buffalo still strikes me as a top-10 team. This week, Sean McDermott's group of guys (who act like a bunch of high school sophomores when one of their teammates gets a big play, which is kind of awesome) will visit the Jets on a short week for "Thursday Night Football." What an important game. The Bills have crapped the bed against Gang Green before. Time to prove it again in a prove-it league, against what we think is a lesser team.

No. 10 – Buffalo Bills

They're quietly hitting another gear, coming off their biggest margin of victory (20) this season while RB LeSean McCoy has officially caught fire.

No. 11 – Buffalo Bills

It's not hard to figure out how the Bills are doing this. They're plus-14 in turnover margin. No other NFL team is better than plus-8. Buffalo has turned it over just three times all season and have forced multiple turnovers in each game this season except one, a 9-3 loss at Carolina. It's hard to believe the Bills can sustain this pace in turnover margin, but it's working so far.

MIDSEASON OBSERVATIONS

Grade = B-plus

Buffalo Bills (5-2)

What has gone right: New coach Sean McDermott has done an excellent job correcting the dysfunction that has long affected this franchise. An opportunistic defense highlighted by safety Micah Hyde (five interceptions) has led the way.

What's next: Could the Bills actually win the AFC East? It isn't far-fetched with Buffalo's two losses coming by a total of 10 points and New England not playing at its customary elite level. The division may very well come down to matchups between the Bills and Patriots in Weeks 13 and 16.

Buffalo Bills defense: At what point is it safe to believe something special is happening here?

Under coach Sean McDermott's leadership, the Bills traded away a former Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate (cornerback Ronald Darby), a recent second-round pick (linebacker Reggie Ragland) and a $100 million defensive tackle (Marcell Dareus). They were missing two key starters from their no-name secondary on Sunday against Oakland and proceeded to pummel the Raiders, 34-14, by winning the turnover battle, 4-0. In turnover differential, Buffalo is at plus-14 on the season.

The bounces that routinely went Oakland's way last season during a string of close wins now are landing in Buffalo. But this is a defense that makes its own luck, with sound tackling and few big plays given up. McDermott deserves much of the credit for the secondary, where former Packers safety Micah Hyde added to his league-leading interception total (five) against Oakland and Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate Tre'Davious White largely shut down Raiders wideout Amari Cooper. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor and running back LeSean McCoy provide just enough big plays on a Bills offense that has been notably lacking in big mistakes despite the presence of a ragtag receiver group.

Scouting in free agency and the draft has been key, but self-scouting helped the Bills just as much. Old standbys like pass rusher Jerry Hughes and defensive tackle Kyle Williams fit perfectly in this defense. Preston Brown, who was expected to be a forgotten man this season, has been a steady presence at middle linebacker. This is a band of overachievers, and Dareus simply didn't fit. Perhaps the turnover rate is unsustainable over the long term; just ask the Raiders if magic necessarily carries over from one season to the next. But for a fan base suffering through the longest playoff drought in the four major sports, the impact having at least one season of magic should not be underestimated.

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