clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2021 NFL Power Rankings: Week Eight

Where do the Texans land after losing to the Cardinals?

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Houston Texans v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images

The Houston Texans lost, again. It was a complete, encompassing, demoralizing loss, just like the week before. Although there was encouraging play from the defense that eventually yielded a safety at the end of a scoreless first quarter, that too gave way to the monotonous journey towards a 1-8 record entering the week off.

The expected drama from the revenge game of DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt vanished into relative obscurity as both Cardinals were too busy coasting to a perfect 7-0 to spend time dawdling about what’s in the past. The most notable bit of revenge drama to come out of this game (besides our slow decay against a better team) was David Johnson flopping to the ground on a screen pass to nowhere, which was a fitting allegory to these teams’ diverging paths.

You can make the argument that something interesting might have happened if David Johnson had found his footing. You could have argued that anything interesting might have happened in this game. I’m over letting this team fool me. Nothing could have happened on this play that would have swayed our trajectory away from becoming the worst football team in the NFL. This play now exists as a gag. Another joke at our expense. Our fate is sealed, and no amount of happy accidents could pull our eyes away from this reality on Sunday.

Hopkins caught a touchdown pass, Watt got a tackle for a loss, and the game ended without much of a hitch. Neither ex-Texan had much to say about his former team, and why would they? To satisfy some urge us fans have to see an exclamatory ending, or to find another wrinkle behind the curtain?

No, we got David Johnson falling down on a 3rd & 17 screen pass. Watt and Hopkins have moved on from us, and the only entertainment we can glean from this game is the flailing attempts we made to keep pace with the Cardinals. Maybe next time.

Yeah, but where were we last year?

1-6 as well! This is a completely different team from last year, but that’d be news to most. The Texans are still bad, and still have a long way to go before they can climb out of the state of constant ridicule the general public can afford them.

Here’s what Dan Hanzus of had to say about us at this point last year:

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 Watsonsaid 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.

“The only hope is that the presence of Watson will expedite the process.” Another cruel joke, another twist of the blade from a past that everyone will ensure we won’t soon forget.

It stings a little, doesn’t it? Seeing DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt jump ship and immediately start realizing Super Bowl aspirations that were always a bit out of reach in Houston. To see the local sports heroes doing what we always knew they were capable of somewhere else. Tied into those knots of celebrity and athletes and sports and geography, we house genuine hopes and dreams for our hometown team and for ourselves. If you were looking for some sort of poetic resolution in Texans-Cardinals, it may be in the pride of seeing players you used to cheer for realize their dreams, bound by a sadness that it is somewhere else.

Here’s where everyone is ranking the Texans after the greatest team in the league put it in neutral and still scored over thirty on us:


31. Houston Texans(1-6)

Previous ranking: 30

Prediction we missed: Even though the Texans would not win many games, they would be competitive

This has not been the case at all in Houston, despite having veteran players make up the majority of the roster. The Texans have been an undisciplined team, making mental mistakes and committing penalties at costly times. Of course, the Texans didn’t expect to start rookie quarterback Davis Mills in Week 3, but since then they haven’t won a game and only one was close. Houston has not scored a touchdown on the road since the fourth quarter of Week 2 and has been outscored 102-8 in its last three road games. — Sarah Barshop


32. Houston Texans (1-6)

Previous rank: No. 32

Tyrod Taylor returned to practice, but that’s not the quarterback who will garner headlines around the Texans this week. The trade deadline is next Tuesday, and NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday morning Deshaun Watson is expected to be moved before that date. There appear to be multiple suitors interested in Watson, which goes to show you just how much some NFL teams are willing to overlook if it means landing a Pro Bowl quarterback in his physical prime. Moving Watson now would represent a best-case scenario for the Texans: They’d acquire a slew of premium draft picks while unloading the toxicity connected to their former franchise star. A win-win at the highest level.


31. Texans (1-6, No. 31): Tyrod Taylor can win just enough games to screw up their draft position.


32. Texans (31): Welp, maybe they’re at least about to emerge from Deshaun Watson’s very long shadow.


28. Houston Texans (1-6)


31. Houston Texans (1–6)

Last week: Loss at Arizona. 31–5

Next week: vs. Los Angeles Rams

The Texans have played hard in spots this year, which continues to be the one thing we can say about them. Despite having the second-worst offense in the league, their defense makes it possible to steal one more victory and not end up with the No. 1 pick.


30. Houston Texans (1-6)

They are so undermanned right now that they can’t compete. When does Deshaun Watson get traded? Anybody else going with him?


32. Houston Texans (1-6)

Last Week: 31

Week 7 Result: Lost at Arizona 31-5

For a time, it appeared as though the Texans might give the undefeated Cardinals a challenge Sunday.

That time did not last long. Houston recorded the game’s first five points and then did not score again.

It marked the fourth time in the last five games that the Texans lost by 15 or more points and the third time in the last four games that the team scored fewer than six points. In other words, Houston is not a good team, but head coach David Culley told reporters after the game that you won’t see any quit from his players.

“We are going to stay together,” Culley said. “There is a process we are going through. We don’t like where we are right now.”

That “process” has involved six straight defeats. After managing just 160 total yards against the Redbirds, only two teams are averaging fewer yards per game in 2021. The Jets are the only squad averaging fewer points per contest. And with the 6-1 Los Angeles Rams coming to town in Week 8, things aren’t likely to improve soon.

It won’t help that there’s likely to be nonstop Deshaun Watson trade speculation between now and the Nov. 2 trade deadline.


32. Houston Texans (1-6, Last Week: 31)

Tyrod Taylor should resume practicing this week and could return from a hamstring injury. At least he’d make the Texans a somewhat competent NFL team. Let’s keep telling ourselves that anyway.

Finally, we have found our way to the very bottom. Trading places with the Jacksonville Jaguars is never a good sign, but the Texans will have a chance to make sure they’re not considered the worst team in football come Week 15 when they play their second game of the campaign against the Jags. In between then and now, we can expect Tyrod Taylor to return from his hamstring injury, which will hopefully stymie the collapse of this team and provide a blueprint of an offense for the Texans fan base to absorb as we enter an offseason practically bursting at the seems with opportunity.

Houston Texans v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Now, for my favorite part! I actually missed posting last week’s power rankings due to school and work absorbing all of my attention. I apologize for that, but, unfortunately, the only thing I missed as a Texans fan was a two-point difference on the final score. Here are my personal power rankings entering Week Eight.

  1. Arizona Cardinals (7-0) (Last Week: 1)
  2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-1) (Last Week: 2)
  3. Cincinnati Bengals (5-2) (Last Week: 11)
  4. Los Angeles Rams (6-1) (Last Week: 4)
  5. Green Bay Packers (6-1) (Last Week: 5)
  6. Buffalo Bills (5-2) (Last Week: 6)
  7. Baltimore Ravens (5-2) (Last Week: 3)
  8. Los Angeles Chargers (4-2) (Last Week: 7)
  9. Tennessee Titans (5-2) (Last Week: 12)
  10. Las Vegas Raiders (5-2) (Last Week: 9)
  11. Dallas Cowboys (5-1) (Last Week: 8)
  12. Cleveland Browns (4-3) (Last Week: 13)
  13. New Orleans Saints (4-2) (Last Week: 17)
  14. Minnesota Vikings (3-3) (Last Week: 14)
  15. Kansas City Chiefs (3-4) (Last Week: 10)
  16. Indianapolis Colts (3-4) (Last Week: 24)
  17. New England Patriots (4-3) (Last Week: 21)
  18. Denver Broncos (3-4) (Last Week: 16)
  19. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3) (Last Week: 19)
  20. Atlanta Falcons (3-3) (Last Week: 26)
  21. Carolina Panthers (3-4) (Last Week: 15)
  22. San Francisco 49ers (2-4) (Last Week: 18)
  23. Seattle Seahawks (2-4) (Last Week: 20)
  24. Philadelphia Eagles (2-5) (Last Week: 23)
  25. Chicago Bears (3-4) (Last Week: 22)
  26. New York Giants (2-5) (Last Week: 29)
  27. Washington Football Team (2-5) (Last Week: 25)
  28. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5) (Last Week: 30)
  29. Miami Dolphins (1-6) (Last Week: 31)
  30. Houston Texans (1-6) (Last Week: 28)
  31. New York Jets (1-6) (Last Week: 27)
  32. Detroit Lions (0-7) (Last Week: 32)

A lot of movement all over the place this week. Both the Panthers and Seahawks are in red alert. Deep into their losing streak, the Panthers are still scratching their heads on whether or not Sam Darnold is any good. Washington is cooked unless they find their defense from last year. Kansas City is beginning to wonder if the NFL has finally found a way to beat Patrick Mahomes.

The big story this week, however, is not the teams that are descending into madness, but the one that has become a Super Bowl caliber team way ahead of schedule. The Cincinnati Bengals are one of the hottest teams in the NFL, and the seemingly unconquerable Ravens now have a big L on their division record for underestimating the Joe Burrow to Ja’Marr Chase connection. These Bengals have some serious firepower on offense, but their defense is what has caught everyone off guard. If they can keep it up and avoid injury, there’s no reason not to believe they’ll be hosting a playoff game come January.

The Houston Texans sadly did not have enough on either side of the ball to play spoiler to the only unbeaten team left in the NFL, the Arizona Cardinals. Thank our lucky stars, we’ll get a chance try again next week as the Texans host the Los Angeles Rams on Halloween. It’s time for Tyrod Taylor to make a haunting return!

Follow me on Twitter: @FizzyJoe