Each Wednesday during the NFL season I’m compiling power rankings of the best Buffalo Bills players for 2017. The rankings are cumulative and not based solely off their last game.
Here’s my rankings after Week seven; a 30-27 victory over the Tampa Bay Bucs to improve to 4-2 on the season. (most recent rankings in parenthesis):
1. Micah Hyde: The Bills prized offseason free agent acquisition had four tackles and broke up a deep pass intended for Desean Jackson that nearly resulted in Hyde’s fifth interception of the season. As things stand he already leads the league with four. One stat I was unaware of before reading Pro Football Focus that further solidifies Hyde’s strong first half —he hasn’t missed a tackle in five weeks. Wow. This guy’s solid and no one’s getting behind him. He’s been a Godsend to Sean McDermott’s defense. (1)
2. Jordan Poyer: The Cleveland Browns castoff has been amazing most this season and Sunday was no exception. Poyer single-handedly saved the Bills four points by breaking up a pass in the end zone that would’ve been a touchdown to Cameron Brate, forcing Tampa to kick a field goal. Obviously those four points turned to be huge. Poyer’s third on the team with 33 tackles and has defended seven passes. I’m sounding like a broken record with this Hyde/Poyer safety tandem, but these two are as responsible for Buffalo’s 4-2 record than anyone. (2)
3. Lesean McCoy: Shady was finally back in franchise back mode against Tampa on Sunday, rushing for 91 yards on 23 carries and catching five more passes for 31 yards. Fantasy owners also finally got to rejoice as he scored his first two touchdowns of the season. McCoy had an untimely and uncharacteristic fumble in the second half but his teammates picked him up. McCoy’s only run for 370 yards and is averaging 3.4 yards per carry through six games, but seems healthier this time of year than in the past and you get a sense the best from him is yet to come. (4)
4. Tyrod Taylor: Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde AKA Tyrod was in typical form Sunday. On one hand he hemorrhaged away points twice late in the first half with awful mental decisions. However, when the chips were all in with the game on the line Taylor executed sensational throws to Deonte Thompson and Zay Jones that tied the score and ultimately led Buffalo to victory. For better or worse Taylor is the Bills starter, barring injury for at least the remainder of 2017 and while the roller coaster with him continues, he’s made enough big plays to have his team in an advantageous position after six games. If you’re going to blast him for bad plays you need to give him credit for 4-2 as well. (5)
5. Tre’Davious White: It was a quiet three quarters for White Sunday, which for a rookie corner is usually a good thing. The fourth quarter was a much different story. Matched up seemingly for the first time all afternoon on Mike Evans, White was beaten for the Tampa go-ahead touchdown with 3:14 left. The Bills tied the game and on the Bucs next play White not only stripped Adam Humphries after a short reception but recovered the fumble as well. It set up the Bills win. It’s been that kind of year for White. (8)
White occasionally gets knocked down but when he does, bounces back up tougher than ever. He’s been a great late first-round find through six games. He certainly has a flair for the dramatic.
6. Stephen Hauschka: He missed a field goal in the first half but made up for it by drilling a 52-yarder early in the fourth quarter. The dude is a perfect five-for-five from 50 yards or beyond this year and has made fans forget about the Dan Carpenter nightmares—thank God. (6)
7. Jerry Hughes: The defensive end has had a relatively quiet season statistically through six games (22 tackles, 3 sacks) but don’t mistake his numbers for ineffectiveness. Hughes has been a force in the pass rush and against the run this season and is thriving again playing under McDermott. Hughes was probably one more Rex Ryan season from being run out of town, so the change has done him good. (10)
8. Richie Incognito: He’s been off the rankings for a few weeks but a strong performance against Tampa gets him back on. The offensive line has been maligned for much of the season due mainly to the struggles on the right side, but Incognito continues to do a good job. (Not Ranked)
9. Charles Clay: This is my weekly reminder that these rankings are cumulative throughout the season and not just based on the last game. Clay’s missed the past two games with a knee injury and is expected to be out a few more. Fortunately against Tampa both Nick O’Leary (two catches for 58 yards) and Logan Thomas (22 yard touchdown catch) picked up the slack. Still, Clay was having a great season and his absence leaves a void. Despite the missed time he’s second on the team in receptions (20) and still leads with 258 receiving yards. (3)
10. Lorenzo Alexander: Had a team-high eight tackles against the Bucs. This guy hasn’t slowed down one bit. Other than a vicious hit on AJ Green in the Cincinnati game that caused a turnover Alexander’s lacked in the impact play department, but he’s been a reliable force and I expect game-changing moments involving him going forward. (7)
OFF THE RANKINGS: Ramon Humber (ninth last week)