It’s time to go up! After falling and falling, Sunday was the moment the Texans decided they had had enough, and after 60 minutes of all out trench warfare, the Dameon Pierce blitzkrieg ushered in the first victory of the 2022 season, and time the Texans are going up on power rankings in a very long time.
This win relied primarily on three scoring drives by the Texans, mostly on the back of Dameon Pierce, and great coverage by Desmond King, Garret Wallow, Steven Nelson, and Derek Stingley Jr.. Stingley also got the first interception of his career, and at a crucial junction in the game:
Derek Stingley Jr. has not missed a tackle on 24 opportunities this season— Jayson Braddock (@JaysonBraddock) October 11, 2022
-- tied for best among NFL defensive backs. via @IE_NFL
Wooooo! First career interception for the third overall pick! Stingley has been an impact player for the Texans since the beginning of the season, and he’s another rookie with a bright future drafted under general manager Nick Caserio.
I’ll admit, I was bearish on the Texans decision to make Nick Caserio the successor to the Bill O’Brien disaster, especially after their earlier, failed attempts at bringing him in. The McNair’s clearly have had their eye on Caserio for some time, and after how poorly the Patriots had drafted since 2015, I was not particularly intrigued by his “championship pedigree.” But, after two drafts, I can’t continue to pretend like he hasn’t improved the roster and given the Texans some real upside in the near future. If Derek Stingley Jr. isn’t enough evidence for you, then Dameon Pierce must be!
Here’s my personal power rankings entering Week 6:
- Buffalo Bills (4-1) (Last Week: 2) - The Bills looked like their old, perfect selves again against Pittsburgh on Sunday. Will this season be another 2021 rollercoaster ride of extreme highs and lows for the Bills, or will this new pass rush keep them well above all the competition even throughout their slopes?
- Philadelphia Eagles (5-0) (Last Week: 1) - Undefeated, but still going down because of the near miss against Arizona. The Eagles have been able to rely on the offensive line to control the pace of the game, will they be able to do the same against Dan Quinn’s Cowboys?
- Kansas City Chiefs (4-1) (Last Week: 4) - The Raiders showed there are clear avenues to running and scoring against the Chiefs. Can another team tighten up on mistakes and out-score Mahomes?
- Baltimore Ravens (3-2) (Last Week: 6) - While not a pretty showing agains the Bengals, Lamar Jackson and Justin Tucker provide a deadly scoring combination. Can the Ravens defense continue to improve, or will every game come down to last second field goals?
- Minnesota Vikings (4-1) (Last Week: 7) - The Bears comeback felt like another classic Kirk Cousins collapse Vikings fans have seen all to frequently, but one weird move by Ihmir Smith-Marsette was all they needed to change their destiny. Can this be maintained?
- Miami Dolphins (3-2) (Last Week: 3) - A big honking 40-17 loss to the Jets isn’t quite as ugly as it seems. The Dolphins were a kick away from taking the lead in the 4th quarter with rookie quarterback Skylar Thompson playing nearly the entire game, but pivotal mistakes were immediately capitalized upon by the Jets. Can the eventual return of Tua Tagovailoa bring their high-scoring offense back?
- Green Bay Packers (3-2) (Last Week: 5) Losing to the Giants in London is a weird way to try and get back on track after nearly losing to Bailey Zappe. Can this defense be counted on?
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2) (Last Week: 10) - A terrible roughing-the-passer call ruined a Falcons comeback and kept the Buccaneers in first place in the division race. Can this offense get back to last year’s highs?
- Los Angeles Chargers (3-2) (Last Week: 11) - Somehow, the Chargers didn’t Charger Up another game, and held on to win two weeks in a row. Will the offense be able to keep scoring until the return of Keenan Allen and Joey Bosa?
- Cincinnati Bengals (2-3) (Last Week: 9) - The Bengals are looking more and more like themselves each passing week, but are still discombobulated enough on offense to allow a big Justin Tucker field goal to be the difference between victory and loss. Where’s Ja’marr Chase?
- Tennessee Titans (3-2) (Last Week: 13) - After an 0-2 start, Tennessee has taken the Derrick Henry train all the way to 3 consecutive victories! Can Ryan Tannehill return to his 2019-20 highs, as well?
- San Francisco 49ers (3-2) (Last Week: 12) - Beating the Carolina Panthers does not earn you a raise in the power rankings. Can the 49ers survive the loss of not just Trey Lance, but Emmanuel Mosley, as well?
- Los Angeles Rams (3-2) (Last Week: 8) - The Rams are in full Super Bowl Hangover mode, and their offensive line might not get out of it until it’s too late. Can Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and Allen Robinson pick up the slack to hang in playoff contention?
- Dallas Cowboys (4-1) (Last Week: 16) - I would have never expected the Cowboys just straight up taking it to the Rams in Los Angeles with Cooper Rush as their quarterback. Can the defensive line maintain their dominance against the Eagles?
- New York Giants (4-1) (Last Week: 18) - A massive upset victory over the Green Bay Packers has the New York Giants back in the spotlight after six straight years of losing football. Can they continue to ride Saquon Barkley into the playoffs?
- Arizona Cardinals (3-2) (Last Week: 15) - Almost beating the Eagles is pretty impressive, but it certainly would’ve been even better if Kyler Murray could’ve just fell down instead of sliding, preventing a 4th & 1 decision. Can Kyler Murray continue to glide over Arizona’s weaknesses and mistakes?
- Denver Broncos (2-3) (Last Week: 14) - How do you lose to the Colts like that?
- Cleveland Browns (2-3) (Last Week: 19) - I know they just lost, but they’re so very close in all of their games, that right below the middle feels just right. Can Jacoby Brissett stop throwing crucial interceptions?
- Jacksonville Jaguars (2-3) (Last Week: 17) - Looking that flat just two weeks after shredding the Chargers shows that the Jaguars still have ways to go. Can they improve enough this season to get a winning record, or even into the playoffs?
- Las Vegas Raiders (1-4) (Last Week: 20) - A better two-point conversion call or a better 4th & 1 call were all the Raiders needed to defeat the Chiefs, but they still can’t get out of their own way. Can they rectify this in time to save the season?
- New Orleans Saints (2-3) (Last Week: 21) - The weird, very 2022 Saints quarterback combo of Andy Dalton/Taysom Hill worked like a charm against the Seahawks on Sunday. Can the Saints defense get back to its old, dominant ways before it’s too late?
- Atlanta Falcons (2-3) (Last Week: 22) - One day, the Falcons will get to enjoy defeating Tom Brady, but it will have to come later. But…will it?
- New England Patriots (2-3) (Last Week: 26) - I couldn’t believe how handily the Patriots defeated the Lions offense. They made one of the best offenses in the league completely stop in its tracks for the entire game. Can Bill Belichick continue to win games like this, or are the Patriots going to need Mac Jones back sooner rather than later?
- Chicago Bears (2-3) (Last Week: 25) - Nearly beating the Vikings with Justin Fields’ first good game as a passer this season earns them some bonus points, but can Chicago trust him to improve and become their franchise?
- Seattle Seahawks (2-3) (Last Week: 23) - Geno Smith might be the best quarterback in the NFC not named Jalen Hurts, and that might be the last thing I would’ve expected to say at the start of the 2022 season. Can they survive the loss of Rashaad Penny?
- New York Jets (3-2) (Last Week: 28) - Zach Wilson, Breece Hall, and the Jets defense have provided a recipe for winning each week that can make the Jets an exciting team as we enter the pivotal October/November slate of the season. Can they keep the momentum rolling against the Packers?
- Indianapolis Colts (2-2-1) (Last Week: 27) - Even though it was absolutely putrid, the Colts did, in fact, beat the Broncos on Thursday night. Will the Colts improve their play at quarterback and offensive line first, or will the Texans?
- Houston Texans (1-3-1) (Last Week: 31) - Welcome back to the 20s, baby! The Texans have put up some big time stinkers this year already, but if they continue to get a little bit better week after week, things could get interesting. Can Davis Mills join the rest of his offense in improving?
- Detroit Lions (1-4) (Last Week: 24) - After the start this offense has had at the beginning of this season, I can’t believe I’m ranking this team this low. But after that loss to the Patriots, can you blame me?
- Washington Commanders (1-4) (Last Week: 30) - While Carson Wentz has continued to be Carson Wentz, the defense has been the major question mark for the Commanders. Where did it go?
- Pittsburgh Steelers (1-4) (last Week: 29) - After the worst loss of the Mike Tomlin era kicked off the Kenny Pickett era, it’s become apparent for the Steelers that their attempts to fix the offensive line have failed. How will they go about improving it to help Pickett?
- Carolina Panthers (1-4) (Last Week: 32) - The Matt Rhule era comes to a end with a blowout loss to the 49ers. Once upon a time, I thought Matt Rhule was a good hire. Now, after multiple years of bad offenses and bad quarterbacks, it’s clear I was wrong. How soon until we see Matt Corral?
It’s much more fun doing the weekly power rankings when I get to push the Texans up instead of down. Every week, they look slightly better on each side of the ball, and while Davis Mills has thrown my heart in the dumpster more times than I can count, these two throws will keep the hype brewing at least until next week:
With his first win as the Houston Texans head coach, Lovie Smith could finally breathe a sigh of relief. As the sun sets a warm orange over Jacksonville, the sharp teal turns into a navy blue, and for a brief moment, it almost appears as if Lovie Smith has a giant letter “i” on his hat.
See you next week!
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