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2016 NFL Power Rankings Round-Up (Week 17): Texans On Rise After Beating Bengals

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The pendulum continues to swing in favor of the Texans this week.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

I do not know how.  I do not know why, but the Cincinnati Bengals simply cannot find a way to beat the Houston Texans whenever the Texans put a backup quarterback on the field. Some might even say it's borderline hilarious at this point. Tom Savage is not your ordinary backup, however, as he actually has a chance to keep his seemingly temporary starting job if he acquits himself well in the playoffs next month.

We still do not know which team Savage will be facing in the first round of the postseason, but we do know that it will either be the Chiefs, Dolphins, or Raidersdepending on the results of multiple games in Week 17. Two of those teams – Miami and Oakland – are also starting backup quarterbacks right now due to injuries to Ryan Tannehill and Derek Carr, respectively.  That’s right – the 2017 AFC Playoffs might come down to a collective quarterback battle where stalwarts like Tom Brady, Alex Smith, and Ben Roethlisberger take on the likes of Tom Savage, Matt Moore, and Matt McGloin. This should be…interesting.

Here is what the media had to say about where the Texans stand relative to the rest of the league as we enter the final week of the regular season:

Website

Rank

Last Week

Comments

SB Nation

14

19

N/A.

ESPN

15

17

The Texans won their past three games, so they didn't exactly back into the playoffs, but those three wins have come by a combined eight points. Tom Savage gets one more start this week at Tennessee before making his postseason debut.

NFL.com

14

18

For the second year in a row, the AFC South title goes to the Texans. For the third straight season, Houston will don a winning record. So what does this mean? Can Bill O'Brien's group win come the second weekend of January? The Texans could host either the Raiders, Chiefs or the aqua hot Dolphins, although the latter are the least likely to venture to Houston in the first round.

The key for the Texans in the postseason might be getting a former Dolphin, tailback Lamar Miller, healthy (i.e., not playing him much in Nashville this weekend). Also of import: Tom Savage keeping his head above water as he did Christmas Eve night.

Bleacher Report

9

12

My 10-cent scouting report on Tom Savage? He held the ball too long. He was confused by some exotic coverages. In short, he looked like a guy making his first career start. That’s far better than his predecessor.

It’s a good sign Houston won given Lamar Miller’s absence in the starting lineup. Savage connected with Will Fuller and C.J. Fiedorowicz, too. Both guys will be crucial to a deep Houston playoff run. Meanwhile, Jadeveon Clowney continued his tour of NFL backfields. He was joined by fellow sack-master Whitney Mercilus.

Fox Sports

11

14

Tom Savage had an abysmal first half against the Bengals but he and the offense got it going a bit in the second half to eke out a win. They’re still inept offensively and don’t pose much of a threat to anyone, but you can’t discredit them for making the playoffs.

USA Today

15

17

The quarterback drama has been so consuming, it's been easy to lose sight of fact Houston has NFL's top-ranked defense ... without J.J. Watt.

Yahoo Sports

15

18

The good vibes from Tom Savage’s game against the Jaguars wore off quickly. Savage could continue to improve, but I have no idea what the Texans will do at quarterback this offseason.

CBS Sports (Prisco)

15

14

They are the division champs, but they aren't very good. Their offense is awful.

AVERAGE

13.5

16.1

N/A.

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