The Buccaneers dropped in last week's power rankings despite beating the Colts, but that didn't happen this weekend after their win over the Falcons.
Tampa Bay came into its divisional matchup as the No. 3 team in Sports Illustrated's power rankings and that's where it remains entering Week 14.
Greg Bishop wrote up this week's list and said the following about the Bucs:
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9–3)
Last week: Win at Atlanta, 30–17Next week: vs. Buffalo
In some ways, the Bucs gained from the Packers not playing, if only because the Bucs did more than might have been expected of them in a resounding trouncing of the Falcons. Ageless Tom Brady threw four touchdowns against Atlanta, including a pair of scores to tight end Rob Gronkowski, which bolstered a significant point: Tampa is better when Gronk is in its lineup, both from a passing perspective and from a run-game one thanks to Gronk’s blocking prowess. Brady and Gronk have now connected for the second-most regular-season touchdowns (90) from any one pair in NFL history. The Buccaneers will also welcome back Antonio Brown soon, after the wideout’s latest misstep with a fake vaccination card. The franchise’s continued embrace of Brown, despite the if-he-makes-one-mistake-he’s-done comment from Coach Bruce Arians, marks one of the low points of the 2021 season. But his return, from a strictly football perspective, gives Tampa a complete offense for much of its stretch run, which features only one likely playoff team, the Bills, next week.
The Bills are 3-4 over their last seven games, but are still considered one of the top-10 teams in the NFL. They are No. 10 this week, creating a top-10 matchup as the Bucs host Buffalo in Tampa Bay.
10. Buffalo Bills (7-5)Last week:
Loss vs. New England, 14–20 (Monday)Next week: at Tampa Bay
Consider the Bills last six games, an even split between three wins and three losses. There were dominant victories over subpar (NY Jets) or banged up (New Orleans) teams, along with a solid win over Miami. The losses—to Jacksonville, period; a beatdown suffered against Indianapolis and Monday’s ran-down-your-throats affair with New England—were more perplexing. An argument could be made that the Chargers should be here, or the Colts, especially given their 41–15 victory. The choice here is to split some hairs, and I’ll give the Bills the edge based on the strength of their overall roster, its depth, and the experience of quarterback Josh Allen, which is especially important as Buffalo chases a playoff bid—and position—against Justin Herbert and Carson Wentz. That said, future angry social media poster, I acknowledge that you are right, in whatever capacity you take issue with this pick. The teams ranked 9–12 this week are all pretty close for me. And, even then, the Bills may finish the entire season the way the last six weeks have gone, as the schedule features Tampa and another date with New England, along with three winnable games in Carolina, Atlanta and the New York Jets. Wonder if those teams will run the ball …
Both teams feature offenses that can score at will and defenses that know how to create big plays, which should create a ton of excitement. The Bills are in need of a big win after a tough loss to the Patriots and the Bucs are currently in the process of wrapping up the NFC South and also fighting for one of the NFC's top playoff seeds.
It's December and two of the NFL's top teams are facing off on Sunday. What more could you ask for?
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