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2021 NFL Power Rankings: Week Ten

Where do the Texans land after losing to the Dolphins?

Houston Texans v Miami Dolphins Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Even with Tyrod Taylor, we are still bad!

I have to be honest, this one hurt. I have always had a bit of a soft spot for Tyrod Taylor. His highlights during his successful stint at Buffalo show the hazy image of a dual-threat quarterback with just as much arm and he has legs. An elegance in the pocket, craftiness when scrambling, and downright amazing downfield accuracy mix into the cauldron to create one of the most tantalizing, intoxicating mixtures of a quarterback I’ve ever seen. When he’s on, his play elevates the players around him and is worthy of a franchise label.

But, to say this is to gloss over nearly the entire NFL saga of Tyrod Taylor. The Ravens backup turned starter that just couldn’t keep the ball rolling when it mattered, getting benched for Nathan Peterman, losing the starting job to an eventual record-breaking rookie quarterback not once but twice, the injuries, the syringe.

All of this at his back, pushing him into Houston where he would finally be the unquestioned starter once again. Now was his chance to prove that he had done the work behind the scenes to improve on the high watermark set in Buffalo and carry a Texans roster devoid of anything exceptional to a winning record. But, of course, the injury bug came to bite him again.

However, this time around, rookie quarterback Davis Mills did not step onto the field and immediately light opposing defenses on fire like Baker Mayfield did in 2018 and Justin Herbert did in 2020. This time, Tyrod would have the chance to actually play again once he returned from injury. The season may be out of reach, but at least he can prove to the franchise that selected him as the starter for the 2021 season that their confidence was not unfounded. Against Miami, one of the worst teams in football, Tyrod had the chance to show that he still has what it takes to be a starting quarterback, despite injuries.

Well…

sigh…

Now, it’s not all his fault. The Texans’ offensive line was practically not playing on Sunday, and Taylor was forced to make plays on the run and under pressure nearly every snap. On top of that, both the first and last interceptions were because of the Miami defensive line creating the opportunity for the interception. But, I mean…

If you somehow convince yourself to ignore the interceptions, it’s not that bad, but just bad enough to extend our streak to four full games since the last time we scored a touchdown on the road.

We just can’t have anything, can we?

Sometimes, you just have one of those days. Except, for the Texans, that day has been going on for the past year.

Houston Texans v Miami Dolphins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

At least last year we were beating the Jaguars for the second time, improving our record to 2-6. Before Sunday I would’ve happily said that at least we can count on having two wins by the end of this year, but now that the Jaguars somehow beat the Buffalo Bills 9-6, I’m not sure if we can even count on that.

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

26. Houston Texans (2-6)

Previous rank: No. 26

The Texans decided to hold on to Will Fuller at the trade deadline. After a 27-25 winin which Fuller flashed his elite playmaking skills on a 77-yard touchdown, Deshaun Watson expressed relief that his No. 1 wideout was still a teammate. “It would have been hell if they would have did that, for sure,” Watson said. The pair has undeniable chemistry, and Fuller — currently in the final year of his rookie deal — has managed to stay healthy while producing touchdowns in six straight games, breaking the franchise record previously held by DeAndre Hopkins. The Texans made a huge mistake when they let Hopkins out of the building — they should think long and hard about allowing Fuller to follow suit.

One year ago, the Texans were trying to save the season by relying on the playmaking skills of Will Fuller and Deshaun Watson. On the same weekend this year, they lost to the team that nearly ended up ridding us of both of them. But alas, Miami couldn’t bring it out of themselves to put some narrative conclusion on this nightmare, forcing the Texans to hold fast as winter approaches, with the dark cloud over the entire organization seemingly parked in place for at least the next five months.

Here’s where everyone is ranking the Houston Texans entering Week Ten:

ESPN:

31. Houston Texans(1-8)

Previous ranking: 31

Bold second-half prediction:The Texans will be picking No. 2 in the NFL draft.

The Lions may be the only team worse in the NFL than the Texans, and although they’re only a half game worse than Houston at the midway point of the season, they do play in a tougher division. After losing to the Dolphins on Sunday, Houston’s best bet to win a game likely comes against the New York Jets in Week 12 or in Jacksonville in Week 15. The Texans’ No. 3 pick last year went to Miami as part of the 2019 trade for left tackle Laremy Tunsil. — Sarah Barshop

NFL.COM:

32. Houston Texans (1-8)

Previous rank: No. 32

Tyrod Taylor was supposed to bring veteran stability to the Texans in his return to the lineup after missing six games with a hamstring injury. That didn’t happen. Taylor threw three interceptions and was sacked five times in a grisly 17-9 loss to the Dolphins that made Houston the 12th team in NFL history to follow a season-opening win with eight consecutive defeats. Sunday’s results aside, Taylor probably gives Houston the best chance to win on a weekly basis, but it might make more sense to continue an evaluation on rookie passer Davis Mills. Week 18 can’t arrive soon enough for this franchise.

PRO FOOTBALL TALK:

31. Texans (1-8, No. 31): Why would anyone in Houston attend or even watch a Texans game?

USA TODAY:

31. Texans (31): QB Tyrod Taylor can be forgiven for being rusty, but throwing multiple (bad) INTs for just the second time in his career? Yikes.

THE RINGER:

31. Houston Texans (1-8)

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED:

32. Houston Texans (1–8)

Points in poll: 9

Highest-place vote: 31 (3 votes)

Lowest-place vote: 32 (3 votes)

Preseason rank: 32

Last week: Loss at Dolphins, 17–9

Next week: Bye

The Texans’ plan to sell their team for scraps was a bit of a wash, as they only made a pair of sales at the trade deadline. Owner Cal McNair is taking a gigantic leap of faith with the future of this franchise, hoping that a Patriots lieutenant and a former team chaplain can guide them into long-term stability.

CBS SPORTS:

31. Houston Texans (1-8)

So going back to Tyrod Taylor at quarterback wasn’t exactly the move to ignite this team. He was bad against Miami and you have to wonder if they might not go back to Davis Mills at some point after their bye.

BLEACHER REPORT:

31. Houston Texans (1-8)

Last Week: 30

Week 9 Result: Lost at Miami 17-9

If you’re the glass-half-full type, the Houston Texans have one positive after another atrocious performance in Miami: There is zero possibility they will lose next week.

But that’s only because the Texans are on a bye in Week 10.

In a season that has been filled with awful, the Texans hit a new low against the Dolphins. Facing a bottom-five Miami defense, quarterback Tyrod Taylor couldn’t generate much offense. The team posted 272 total yards, had 14 first downs and was held out of the end zone.

“So much for the return of Taylor making the Texans a more competitive team—he was picked off three times by the Dolphins and had a miserable QBR of 13.1,” Davenport said. “Houston is a hot mess of a football team with holes galore on both sides of the ball. It’ll take more than one year to fix things, even if the team lands a windfall of picks in a Deshaun Watson trade next offseason.”

YAHOO! SPORTS:

32. Houston Texans (1-8, Last Week: 32)

The Texans forced five turnovers against a Dolphins team that had lost seven in a row and still couldn’t get a win. Again, it’s amazing and fortunate the Texans got a win, because we’d already be having plenty of 0-17 discussions about them by now.

In hot pursuit of the first overall pick, the Texans are sure to get it if they continue to play like this. The Lions have been very competitive in several games this year, and will eventually eke out a victory or two before the season is over. The Texans, on the other hand, were presented a beautiful plate of victory on Sunday (with a cherry on top when it was announced Jacoby Brissett would be starting), and smacked it away in disgust. Maybe, just maybe, that first overall dessert will be worth the wait.

NFL: Houston Texans at Miami Dolphins Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Here are my personal power rankings entering Week Ten:

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

Another week goes by where the vast majority of teams in the top ten lose, and the playoff picture in both conferences gets significantly more muddled. The Bills’ lead on the Patriots has diminished, and at this point, their division games will be pivotal for both teams. We’re halfway through the season and still don’t have a read on who will win the AFC North, even though the Ravens appear to be the team that has figured out how to win close games in order to stay on top. The Raiders are finally cracking under the extreme pressure this season has put them under, and the Titans could be the class of the AFC.

Over in the NFC, The Cowboys loss to the Broncos, the Packers loss to the Chiefs, and the aforementioned Rams loss to the Titans have given the dominant Cardinals a nice lead over the pack. Even without Kyler Murray, this Cardinals team keeps rolling. The Falcons get a big, dramatic win over the rival Saints, keeping them very much alive in the playoff hunt in November. At the beginning of the season, many touted the Falcons as another team tanking this season in order to find their next franchise quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft. Their roster was seen as one of the worst in football, their defense devoid of playmakers, and an aging quarterback that has more questions than answers. While I don’t see them as a great team, they are certainly better than most expected, and keep chugging along to the point where they could be playing meaningful football in December.

Next week, the Houston Texans play no one. After that electrifying loss in Miami that contained a collective nine turnovers, the Texans have scared away all the competition in town. Of course, the shadowy NFL had to try and cover it up by calling it a “bye week,” but we all know the truth. We all know that the Texans are trying to invent a new form of football and the League is scared by it. Disturbed by it. Disturbed by something new. But we love our Texans and their disturbing new performances on the football field. The new always needs friends.

Follow me on Twitter: @FizzyJoe

Houston Texans v Miami Dolphins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images
Houston Texans v Miami Dolphins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images
Houston Texans v Miami Dolphins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images