clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2021 NFL Power Rankings: Week Five

Where do the Texans land after their blowout loss?

Houston Texans v Buffalo Bills Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

Wow. The party is officially over, and the suffering is in full swing.

Absolutely one of the worst losses in Houston Texans history, one of the most lopsided games in NFL history, the Houston Texans lost to the Buffalo Bills 40-0. It was a complete, a beautiful, a perfect loss.

It was just one of those days. Nothing the Texans could do on either side of the ball was effective, becoming more of a passing wind than an opponent to the Buffalo Bills. The defense was still demonstrating an ability to force turnovers, but even those wayward footballs rolled in the wrong direction over and over again.

Mitchell Trubisky even got to dunk of us a few times:

After a game like this coupled with the performances of the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets, the Texans deserve to be ranked as the worst team in football. They absolutely were on Sunday, and now its time to take our medicine.

Yeah, but where were we last year?

Firing Bill O’Brien after he lost to the 0-3 Vikings. His ousting was a sort of miracle to many Houston fans, believing that we had escaped the grasp of an aggressively mediocre head coach who looked bent on holding onto the Texans for years longer. This was a watershed moment for the franchise, and a moment to reflect on past mistakes so that the next coach and general manager are good hires. There was a sort of “there’s nowhere to go but up” mentality among many Texans fans. A year from now, I’m not sure which direction we’re heading but it’s certainly not up.

Here’s what Dan Hanzus of NFL.com had to say about us back then:

29. Houston Texans (0-4)

Previous rank: No. 2 1

The Texans’ putrid start has cost Bill O’Brien his job. Houston fired its head coach and general manager on Monday, a stunning move that leaves the organization with a massive leadership void amidst an 0-4 start to the season. O’Brien was a polarizing figure in Houston, but his deeply unpopular trade of DeAndre Hopkinscoupled with a winless start to 2020 conspired to end his time with the Texans after four AFC South titles in six-plus seasons. Assistant head coach Romeo Crennel takes over as interim coach, inheriting a top-heavy roster that has struggled on both sides of the ball to start the season. While Crennel is tasked with producing better results on the field, the Texans as an organization will be busy rebooting the machine from within.

This has been undoubtedly one of the weirdest years in Houston Texans franchise history. It’s kind of amazing when you step back and just look at the timeline of wildness since the pandemic started: Get rid of Hopkins, add David Johnson (???), add Randall Cobb and Brandin Cooks, draft Ross Blacklock and Jonathan Greenard, pay Zach Cunningham and Deshaun Watson, lose a lot, fire Bill O’Brien the Unfireable, keep Jack Easterby and bring in Nick Caserio and David Culley in a wave of drama, Deshaun Watson requests a trade, several women accuse him of sexual misconduct and the NFL and FBI start investigating, bring in a mountain of random players that I am too lazy to list here (…besides Tyrod Taylor), draft Davis Mills (A.K.A. Not Kellen Mond) and Nico Collins, and lose more. This team is undergoing metamorphosis, and who knows when it will be done.

Here’s where everyone is ranking the Houston Texans after their tragedy:

ESPN:

30. Houston Texans(1-3)

Previous ranking: 28

Biggest surprise: Lack of production from RB Phillip Lindsay

Why it’s a surprise: Entering training camp, the Texans expected Lindsay to emerge as their lead back. Instead, Lindsay trails veteran running backs Mark Ingram II and David Johnson for carries and has just 31 yards and a touchdown on 24 attempts. Since Week 1, Houston has not run the ball well at all and ranks 31st in Football Outsiders’ rushing DVOA. It might get a little easier for the Texans in Week 5, as the New England Patriots’ defense ranks 28th in rushing DVOA and allowed Tampa Bay to run for 119 yards Sunday night. — Sarah Barshop

NFL.COM:

32. Houston Texans (1-3)

Previous rank: No. 28

The Texans showed fight in the first three weeks, even managing a win in the season opener against the Jaguars. Sunday’s 40-0 loss to the Bills makes you wonder how many more times David Culley’s team will taste victory before the season is through. The Texans need Tyrod Taylor back in the worst way: Rookie Davis Mills simply isn’t ready to face top NFL competition, a reality laid bare in a nightmarish performance against the Bills that produced as many interceptions as passing first downs (four each). Of course, the Texans’ struggles run deeper than the kid under center. “You could put Joe Montana out there today, and the way we played, you’re not going to have any success on offense,” Culley said.

PRO FOOTBALL TALK:

30. Texans (1-3, No. 29): It rained so much in Buffalo on Sunday that Jack Easterby actually believed he was walking on water.

USA TODAY:

31. Texans (29): Apparently rookie QB Davis Mills was trying to honor former Bills QB Nathan Peterman with a truly dreadful, 87-yard, four-INT performance in Buffalo.

THE RINGER:

31. Houston Texans (1-3)

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED:

31. Houston Texans (1–3)

Last week: Loss at Buffalo, 40-0

Next week: vs. New England

After their surprising Week 1 win, the Texans have regressed into the team we expected them to be this season. Without Tyrod Taylor, who will miss at least one more game with a hamstring injury, their offense has been impotent. It’s not fair to put all the blame on Davis Mills: He’s a third-round pick who shouldn’t be starting, on a roster that’s mid-overhaul.

CBS SPORTS:

Houston Texans (1-3)

Davis Mills was simply overmatched on the road against the Bills. They need Tyrod Taylor back as quickly as they can get him.

BLEACHER REPORT:

Last Week: 28

Week 4 Result: Lost at Buffalo 40-0

The Houston Texans are a mess.

This isn’t news. Everyone expected the Houston Texans to struggle in 2021. But over the season’s first three weeks, the Texans had at least played hard.

Sunday in Buffalo, everything fell apart.

Calling the second start from rookie Davis Mills a disaster is an affront to disasters. Mills completed 11 of his 21 pass attempts for 87 yards—unless you count the four passes he tossed to Bills defenders. On a day when the Bills marched up and down the field to the tune of 40 points and 450 yards, the Texans had 109 yards of offense.

“Credit the Texans for hanging in there against the Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers for at least part of the game, but Houston was exposed against the Bills as maybe the least talented team in the NFL,” Davenport said. “Given what we saw in Week 4 and the team’s upcoming schedule, it’s not at all hard to imagine the Texans hit their Week 10 bye with a 1-8 record. They’re terrible.”

YAHOO! SPORTS:

31. Houston Texans (1-3, LW: 30)

After a few weeks of being competitive, a 40-0 loss to the Bills had to be disheartening. Rookie quarterback Davis Mills had a rough day, to say the least. Houston had -23 net passing yards at halftime. It’ll a long wait until Dec. 19, when they get to beat the Jaguars again.

Until the Texans are fully healthy again, they are one of the teams in football. Tyrod Taylor demonstrated the power to somehow carry this team on his back to competitiveness, but without our sisyphus, the boulder is just going to keep rolling downhill. My faith in things getting better with Davis Mills is gone, but my faith in the Texans getting better once they’re healthy still remains.

Here’s my personal rankings for week five:

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

Even though I stated earlier that the Texans were the worst team in football this past weekend, I couldn’t bring myself to sink them below the Lions or the Jaguars. The Texans aren’t as spectacularly dysfunctional as the Lions and not as overwhelmingly horrible as the Jaguars (both on and off the field). On top of that, the Texans will be significantly better than both of these teams once they are healthy again.

Now that we’re a month into the schedule, expectations are starting to build for each franchise. The Browns beat the Vikings, but with an offense that left most most critical of their Super Bowl aspirations. The Jets and Giants both get big wins against better opponents, blowing away the extremely low expectations of their fan base. Zach Wilson looked like a franchise quarterback, and I think he can be the best of his class. The Patriots spend a ton of money in free agency, get a rookie quarterback who is performing over expectations, and gave the defending champs led by Tom Brady everything they could handle, and have a 1-3 record to show for it. It’s pretty wild to think that, as of now, the Cincinnati Bengals used free agency better and are a better coached team than the New England Patriots. Every fiber in my being wants to disagree with this sentiment, but their performance through the first month shows it actually might be true.

The Vikings, similar to last year, have dug themselves a hole that they will be digging out of all season to try and make the playoffs. Another team that did so in 2020, the Los Angeles Chargers, are proving that they made the right head coaching hire by not making that same mistake again in 2021. They are absolutely one of the hardest teams to beat in the league, and have a shot of playing against their roommates, the Rams, in the Super Bowl by year’s end.

Follow me on Twitter: @FizzyJoe