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2020 NFL Power Rankings: Week Eight

Where do we sinknow?

Green Bay Packers v Houston Texans Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images

Entering the bye week, the Houston Texans are 1-6. A deflating loss to the Green Bay Packers that was all too expected was sure to ground the Texans after unexpected highs against Jacksonville and Tennessee. This hot streak could only last so long, and it was only a matter of time until the ghost of the 2020 Houston Texans returned to its shallow grave.

Despite a few moments of offensive showcase that have become customary for Deshaun Watson, it was a comfortable victory for a Packers team with Super Bowl aspirations. What was a surprise, however, was how conservative the Texans played. After two straight weeks of inspired and daring offensive playcalling, the Texans returned to their exhausting old haunts, complete with runs up the middle for no gain and short passes. It was like Bill O’Brien had snuck into NRG stadium to espouse his preachings of establishing the run once again. Like a decaying zombie, the Texans stumble in their bye week with less and less to look up to.

But where were we in week eight of last year? The Keke Coutee game-ending interception is where.

Here’s what Dan Hanzus of NFL.com had to say about the Texans this time last year:

9. Houston Texans (4-3)

Previous rank:*No. 6*

Consistency continues to elude the Texans. On Sunday, that cost them first place in the AFC South. With the defense struggling to stop Jacoby Brissett (who threw a career-high four touchdown passes) and the running game unable to get it going, Deshaun Watson was again asked to don the Superman cape. Watson is one of the few players in football qualified to accommodate such an ask, but he wasn’t as sharp as he needed to be against the Colts. Watson threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter, including the game-icing pick on a slightly high throw to Keke Coutee, who bobbled the ball into the hands of linebacker Darius Leonard to seal the loss. The Texans are probably a better team than the Colts, but when they turn the ball over in crucial situations and play without discipline (10 penalties for the second straight week), they can look pedestrian. And now they’re looking up in their division.

What a rollercoaster game that was for the Texans and Keke Coutee. Regardless, I’m sure all parties involved would much prefer a loss like that than the embarrassing burial we suffered this time around. Only time can heal the grim reality of the dire state the Houston Texans are in, and the brutal exhuming that must take place by the future regime in order to usher in a new era. A baptism by fire is at the hands of our future coaching staff, or maybe an exorcism is a comparison more applicable.

Anyways, here’s what the sports world says about the 1-6 Texans:

ESPN:

26. Houston Texans (1-6)

Week 7 ranking: 26

Who needs to step up: RB David Johnson

As interim coach Romeo Crennel said Monday, the Texans “have to establish a running game.” Houston’s running game — Johnson and backup Duke Johnson — has failed to find consistency. David Johnson, acquired in the DeAndre Hopkins trade and making more than $11 million this season, doesn’t have a 100-yard rushing game for Houston and is averaging 3.88 yards per carry. He came close with 96 rushing yards in Week 5 against Jacksonville but otherwise has not been a sufficient replacement for Carlos Hyde, who ran for more than 1,000 yards in 2019. — Sarah Barshop

NFL.COM:

24. Houston Texans (1-6)

Previous rank: No. 24

The Texans managed some late cosmetic work to make things look respectable, but it was ultimately another one-sided affair in a loss to the Packers on Sunday. It’s another example of how far Houston has fallen, and how much work must be done to return this team to contender status. “S--- sucks, honestly,” Deshaun Watson said after the game. “I mean, this is new to me, so I’m going through it just like everyone else.” Added J.J. Watt: “Frustrated, I’m angry. I mean, it sucks. I don’t know what else I’m supposed to feel.” Watt is 31 with a long list of injuries: Will he still be around when the Texans get back on track? The only hope is that the presence of Watson will expedite the process.

CBS SPORTS:

29. Texans (1-6)

They have one victory this season and the defense is woeful. It’s time to start thinking about their next coach. Will they unload players before the trade deadline, and should they?

PRO FOOTBALL TALK:

30. Texans (No. 29; 1-6): Deshaun Watsondeserves better.

THE RINGER:

28. Houston Texans (1-6)

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED:

30. Houston Texans (1–6)

Last week: Loss vs. Green Bay 35–20

Next week: Bye

Put Deshaun Watson on ice and save him for 2021.

BLEACHER REPORT:

28. Houston Texans (1-6)

High: 27

Low: 28

Last Week: 27

Week 7 Result: Lost vs. Green Bay 35-20

As the defeats pile up for the Houston Texans, frustration is growing in the locker room. Per ESPN’s Sarah Barshop, both quarterback Deshaun Watson and defensive end J.J. Watt have just about had it with the losing.

“S—t sucks, honestly,” Watson said. “I mean, this is new to me, so I’m going through it just like everyone else. This is my first time experiencing something like this, so I’m just learning on the fly, trying to stay positive, continuing to lead the guys, continuing to come to work each and every day and try to improve and just trying to find ways to win.”

“We’re 1-6,” Watt said. “You are what your record says you are.”

Mind you, this is the team that won the AFC South last year and was up 24-0 on the Kansas City Chiefs in the playoffs. Now the franchise is falling apart, coach/general manager Bill O’Brien has been fired and Watt’s named has surfaced in trade speculation.

At least Texans fans can look forward to watching the Miami Dolphins use their team’s 2021 first-round draft pick acquired in the Laremy Tunsil deal.

That should be fun.

YAHOO! SPORTS:

25. Houston Texans (1-6, LW: 24)

The Texans should be active on the trade market. They need to restock draft picks after giving so many away the past couple years when Bill O’Brien was running the front office. “Most of the time in this situation, they’re offering peanuts and not offering legitimate trade value,” coach Romeo Crennel said. Imagine how bad the offers would be if O’Brien was still in charge.

Yeah...we’re bad. Interestingly, many analysts can’t seem to agree on whether to keep us with the bad teams or sink us with the really bad teams. Deshaun Watson’s magic still has an entrancing effect even on those rankings, but only for so long. It’s time to look ahead to next year’s bad season. Here’s my week eight rankings:

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last Week: 1)
  2. Kansas City Chiefs (Last Week: 3)
  3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last Week: 6)
  4. Baltimore Ravens (Last Week: 5)
  5. Tennessee Titans (Last Week: 4)
  6. Seattle Seahawks (Last Week: 2)
  7. Green Bay Packers (Last Week: 9)
  8. Buffalo Bills (Last Week: 8)
  9. Los Angeles Rams (Last Week: 10)
  10. Arizona Cardinals (Last Week: 13)
  11. Chicago Bears (Last Week: 7)
  12. New Orleans Saints (Last Week: 12)
  13. Las Vegas Raiders (Last Week: 11)
  14. Cleveland Browns (Last Week: 15)
  15. San Francisco 49ers (Last Week: 20)
  16. Indianapolis Colts (Last Week: 16)
  17. Carolina Panthers (Last Week: 17)
  18. Los Angeles Chargers (Last Week: 19)
  19. Miami Dolphins (Last Week: 18)
  20. Detroit Lions (Last Week: 25)
  21. Philadelphia Eagles (Last Week: 22)
  22. New England Patriots (Last Week: 14)
  23. Cincinnati Bengals (Last Week: 24)
  24. Denver Broncos (Last Week: 21)
  25. Houston Texans (Last Week: 23)
  26. Atlanta Falcons (Last Week: 27)
  27. Dallas Cowboys (Last Week: 26)
  28. Minnesota Vikings (Last Week: 28)
  29. New York Giants (Last Week: 30)
  30. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last Week: 29)
  31. Washington Football Team (Last Week: 31)
  32. New York Jets (Last Week: 32)

The 49ers continue their meteoric rise while the Patriots drop even further. That game was a major test for both team and was likely an inflection point on the season for both. The 49ers are now back in the thick of it in the NFC West, whereas the Patriots’ chances of making the playoffs sink to a low that hasn’t been seen in the Belichick era since 2000. The Seahawks loss I predicted last week occurred, and they droop in the rankings after showing clear vulnerabilities again against the Arizona Cardinals. I couldn’t bring myself to drop the Texans any further down given the company they’d have down there. The Texans aren’t good, but I’d trust them to take a knee to win the game or put up more than three points against the fearsome Football Team.

What do you think of the rankings? Where do you put the Texans? Is Seattle bracing for another divisional round exit or do they have something special this year? Let us know in the comments! And since I won’t be writing another one of these until November, Happy Halloween!