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2020 NFL Power Rankings: Week Fifteen

Where do the Texans land in Week 15?

NFL: Houston Texans at Chicago Bears Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

The Texans are cooked. A trip to Chicago presented an opportunity for a team reeling from a heartbreaking loss to rebound against one that’s been spiraling out of control for the past two months. The Texans, who appeared to have found their groove on offense (to the point that losing several starting players did not affect their potency against the Colts) arrived at Soldier field determined to redeem themselves through exceptional offensive play. But, what rested up north was a trap so cleverly hidden that even Deshaun Watson could not escape its grasp. In by far the worst game of the season thus far, the Texans lost to the Bears, 36-7.

Not much about this game needs to be described or recapped, besides the Texans failing to execute in practically every facet possible. Trubisky outplayed Watson and, as punishment, Watson took “a jackhammer right up the middle.” A quote from announcer Kevin Harlan that basically sums up the entire game.

If you needed any evidence this is a bad team with bad coaches, this was the game.

And, wouldn’t you know it, this time last year was when we put up a similar abysmal performance against the Denver Broncos. The Texans were in the middle of playoff contention last year, and got embarrassed by a bad Denver team led by rookie quarterback Drew Lock, who had a field day against our defense. That loss was absolutely unforgivable, and created one of the best O’Brien moments in world history:

What are the chances of the Texans getting blown out by bad teams on the same week of the season two years in a row? About as high as the chance for us to hear Jack Easterby scream like this when Cal McNair declines one of his homemade inspirational office posters. Suffice to say, it can happen!

Here’s what Dan Hanzus of had to say about us back in 2019:

9. Texans (8-5)

Previous rank: No. 7

Beat the Patriots one week, get your doors blown off by the Broncos the next. The Texans are a hard team to make sense of right now ... and a difficult team to trust after a 38-24 loss. This was a dark day at NRG Stadium. Houston went into the half down 31-3; by the end of Denver’s first possession of the third quarter, it was 38-3. The Texans did some cosmetic work after that, but it didn’t matter how much lipstick you put on this pig. The Texans and Titans are now tied atop the AFC South with two head-to-head meetings in the next three weeks. On Sunday, Houston’s defense was a mess ( get well soon, J.J. Watt), and the offense was out of sync. Will Fuller missed another game with a hamstring issue; the Texans’ offense is simply not the same without their downfield threat. Uneasy times in Houston.

“YOU SUCK TOO! YOU SUCK TOO!” I scream as I look to my Twitter timeline for emotional support as my darling Deshaun Watson gets his nuts obliterated on live television and all I see is hot takes about Trubisky being the better quarterback.

If you remove the dash in 4-9 you get 49, which is a pretty sweet number. Trubisky has such quick feet when he’s scrambling, I wonder if he’s good at dancing. I bet he is. Chad Hansen look okay again, but still little to no snaps for most of the rookies.

Here’s where all the analysts have us ranked after the most recent attempt at football:


29. Houston Texans (4-9)

Week 14 ranking: 24

Offense: 12

Defense: 31

Special teams: 12

While the Texans overhauled their offense — minus quarterback Deshaun Watson — this season, they didn’t make many changes on defense. That’s why they rank 31st in the defensive FPI rankings. The unit that gave up 51 points to Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in the playoffs in January has not improved this season, and even a healthy J.J. Watt can make only so much of a difference. Houston gave up 36 points to the Bears on Sunday in a performance that Watt called “embarrassing.” — Sarah Barshop


Texans (4-9):

That was a terrible showing against the Bears. The defense is horrible. It’s on to next year.


28. Houston Texans (4-9)


29. Houston Texans (4–9)

Last week: Loss at Chicago 36–7

Next week: at Indianapolis

After four AFC South titles in the last five years, the Texans were eliminated from postseason contention with a performance against the Bears that franchise stalwart J.J. Watt called “embarrassing.”

We have the same record as the Dallas Cowboys. Ewwwwwwwww! At this point, where we land in the rankings doesn’t really matter, we just suck.

Here’s my power rankings to end this stinky week:

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

The playoff teams are beginning to separate themselves from the pack as several score big wins (Ravens, Colts, Washington) or suffer narrow losses to future playoff opponents (Browns, Chiefs, Steelers), causing little movement in the top half.

The real story of the week is the frantic battle for the 7-seed in the AFC, a tightening race between Baltimore, Las Vegas, and Miami. The Dolphins currently hold the lead with tie-breakers against the Ravens, but will likely need to win out in order to hold that position. The Ravens scored their must-win game against Cleveland in a Monday night classic, and are able to roll into the final stretch against opponents like the Jaguars, Giants, and Bengals. The Ravens have a legitimate shot at finishing 11-5, meaning the Dolphins will have to beat the Patriots, Raiders, and Bills to keep their postseason hopes alive. The Raiders find themselves on the outside of the bubble after losing to the Colts, who now assume a similar position as Cleveland with an easy schedule and high likelihood of finishing 11-5 or 12-4.

In the other, more boring conference, things are mostly rounded into shape. Green Bay has an inside track to the 1-seed, while the Saints, Rams, Seahawks, and Buccaneers are all a week or two away from planting their foot into the wildcard tournament. The Cardinals, Vikings, and Bears are fighting for the final spot, but the Cardinals will only have to face one more team above .500 before the end of the season. The Vikings or Bears would need to win out (a highly unlikely feat for either team given their schedule) and would still need the Cardinals to fall apart in the final stretch in order to sneak into the postseason. Arizona has dropped a few weird games already, though, so it’s certainly possible Philadelphia and/or San Francisco score an upset over them.

It will certainly be strange to see several 10-6 and 9-7 teams get left out of an expanded playoff picture. Heck, there’s still a real chance an 11-5 team gets to spend January on the couch, a truly rare event. While it’s disappointing Houston is not involved in this crazy finish to the season, at least we have the shot to cause Chaos for the Colts next week and the Titans in the season finale. A win against the Colts would especially be sweet since a Houston loss immediately followed by a Pittsburgh loss can send their playoff hopes into a deep spiral. We’re primed for a genuinely exciting finish to the regular season, and the Texans have a chance to cause an upset or two that would send shockwaves throughout the entire conference. Here’s to hoping we finish 7-9 and make a few million rival fans furious at us in the process.

Follow me on Twitter: @FizzyJoe