After the trade-deadline came and went and the Houston Texans did absolutely nothing, suspense started building for a Thursday night spanking against the Philadelphia Eagles. With negative press surrounding the Texans due to Brandin Cooks’ public hope for a trade and the Eagles signaling an all-in approach to this season when they traded for Robert Quinn, there was plenty of reason to believe Thursday night football was going to get ugly.
But, even though the Texans lost, they survived long enough not to appear like a national embarrassment. Dameon Pierce got to show a national audience why he’s considered an Offensive Rookie of The Year favorite, Davis Mills got throw some pretty passes, and the offensive line did a far superior job handling a terrifying Eagles’ front seven than anyone could have expected.
But, the ghosts that have haunted the Texans all season, bad run defense and turnovers, reared their heads again in the second half.
Halfway through the season, the Texans have attempted to piece together a roster talented enough to make up for these big weaknesses. Even though they have gathered more talented players, Dameon Pierce has become a revelation for gaining yards, Davis Mills continues to play “better than most other quarterbacks of his draft class,” and they continue to hang in games, closing them is just something out of reach.
Here’s where I have everyone ranked entering week 10 of the 2022 NFL season:
- Philadelphia Eagles (8-0) (Last Week: 2) - Although Davis Mills and Dameon Pierce gave them a bit of a scare, the Eagles defense locked everything down throughout most of the second half, and Jalen Hurts can put his team in scoring position on every drive. Now with Robert Quinn, the Super Bowl feels within arm’s reach.
- Kansas City Chiefs (6-2) (Last Week: 3) - The Titans’ defense kept Patrick Mahomes in check for most of the game again, but he was still able to escape pressure and force the ball downfield to secure victory at the very end.
- Buffalo Bills (6-2) (Last Week: 1) - The largest drop for the Bills thus far this season, and they’ve earned it after grabbing an 0-2 deficit within the division when they’re supposed to be the team of destiny this year. The Bills and Josh Allen are still Super Bowl favorites, but their heel is exposed.
- Minnesota Vikings (7-1) (Last Week: 4) - Grabbing tight end T.J. Hockenson from the Detroit Lions right before the trade deadline turned out the be a good idea. Kirk Cousins loves tight ends, and now with Green Bay in full crisis mode, Minnesota has everything they need to coast to a division crown.
- Baltimore Ravens (6-3) (Last Week: 5) - Appearing to have recovered from their October funk, Baltimore is back to shredding teams on the ground and choking them away with good defense. Rookie tight end Isiah Likely won’t be taking Mark Andrews’ job away, but he’ll be another excellent big target for Lamar Jackson.
- Seattle Seahawks (6-3) (Last Week: 9) - Another big-time division win to sweep the Arizona Cardinals puts Seattle firmly in the drivers seat of the NFC West. Rookie running back Kenneth Walker turned out to be one of the best and most important selections in the 2022 NFL Draft as he becomes the center of a deadly Seahawks offense.
- Dallas Cowboys (6-2) (Last Week: 7) - Bye week, so they get to stay put! The Cowboys were connected to trade-deadline rumors surrounding Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, but nothing came of them. Recently, Jerry Jones has continued to drum up speculation about potentially signing Odell Beckham Jr., but as of writing, nothing has happened. The Cowboys are clearly making a push to become a complete, Super Bowl-ready team, which means if Odell is coming, he can get one heck of a deal.
- Miami Dolphins (6-3) (Last Week: 6) - Even though they won, they still need to drop a little to compensate for nearly losing to the Bears. Justin Fields is great, but that Dolphins defense - even with new addition Bradley Chubb - is pretty bad.
- Tennessee Titans (5-3) (Last Week: 8) - The game was there to be won over and over again, but the Titans just gagged every single time. I know Malik Willis is a rookie, but nothing excuses how one-dimensional Tennessee’s offense was for the majority of this game. He made Davis Mills look good.
- New York Giants (6-2) (Last Week: 10) - Bye week, so they get to stay put! The Giants traded their first round pick last year, wide receiver Kadarious Toney, to the Kansas City Chiefs at the end of the trade deadline. Toney had some major flashes for the Giants last year, becoming a kind of scat-back receiver, but now he’s gone.
- New York Jets (6-3) (Last Week: 16) - What a way to respond after a loss by the New York Jets! Beating the conference-favorite Buffalo Bills to improve their division record and put themselves squarely within playoff contention is exactly what they needed after a tough loss to New England, and at this point it’s safe to say that the sky is the limit.
- San Francisco 49ers (4-4) (Last Week: 12) - Bye week, so they get to stay put! This has not been the season San Francisco was expecting, but a few clutch losses from the Rams and Cardinals have given them an opening to the playoffs.
- Cincinnati Bengals (5-4) (Last Week: 13) - P.J. Walker and the Panthers came into this game reinvigorated, but left completely deflated. The Bengals have had their own issues to start this season, but they’re clearly far superior to their Super Bowl rival L.A. Rams.
- Los Angeles Chargers (5-3) (Last Week: 11) - The Los Angeles Chargers and Atlanta Falcons are strangely comparable teams, this year. But, as they’ve proven before by saving the Chargers, Justin Herbert and Austin Ekeler can put average teams over the edge.
- New England Patriots (5-4) (Last Week: 18) - Mac Jones and the Patriots offense are still stuck in mud, but the defense is now pushing full steam ahead towards another win streak.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-5) (Last Week: 15) - Who would’ve thought a Rams vs. Bucs rematch would be this underwhelming? The Buccaneers didn’t resolve many issues at all in this game, but did just barely enough to beat the Rams and potentially sink their playoff hopes.
- Atlanta Falcons (4-5) (Last Week: 17) - The Falcons are still chewing up yards when they need to, but still out-slopped the Chargers.
- Los Angeles Rams (3-5) (Last Week: 14) - The defense is playing well enough, but the offense is fully capitulating behind a bad offensive line.
- New Orleans Saints (3-6) (Last Week: 21) - It feels wrong to raise them after a bad loss, but someone has to take Green Bay’s spot! The Saints’ bad defense is the big story of their season, but maybe the return of Jameis Winston will put them back on track.
- Cleveland Browns (3-5) (Last Week: 20) - Bye week, so they get to stay put! With former Texan and alleged sex-offender Deshaun Watson incoming, the Browns are primed to go on a second-half surge, but it won’t be easy with Cincinnati and Baltimore still ahead of them.
- Washington Commanders (4-5) (Last week: 25) - I know they lost, but keeping it that close against a great opponent deserves some praise, and Washington’s offense has looked a lot more deadly with Heinicke throwing the ball. Everyone in the NFC East is trying to get into the playoffs!
- Denver Broncos (3-5) (Last Week: 22) - Bye week, so they get to stay put! After failing to trade Jerry Jeudy before the deadline, Russell Wilson is now going to forced to make it work. The Broncos have certainly been bad this year, but they’re only a couple of victories away from being back in playoff contention.
- Chicago Bears (3-6) (Last Week: 27) - Another rough loss sends a surprise season spiraling towards the drain, but the Bears were at least able to get something out of it: Justin Fields is the real deal.
- Las Vegas Raiders (2-6) (Last Week: 24) - Bye week, so they get to stay put! I don’t know how the Raiders revive this spectacularly painful season, but I predict either an amazing win streak coming out of the bye, or another losing streak that gets them a top-defender in next year’s draft class.
- Arizona Cardinals (3-6) (Last Week: 23) - This was likely an inflection point of the season for Arizona. After their second loss to the Seahawks, the Cardinals are in serious trouble of spiraling and ending the season with a top-5 draft pick and plenty of holes to patch on both lines. Kyler Murray expects to win now, and if they offensive and defensive lines don’t dramatically improve or if the passing attack can’t get a little more aggressive, there’s no path forward.
- Green Bay Packers (3-6) (Last Week: 19) - What is going on in Green Bay? Aaron Rodgers, the line, and the rushing attack are all completely out of sink, and I don’t know if there’s any salvaging it this deep into the season. Now in a distant second in the division and no easy path to a wildcard berth, the Packers might be cooked.
- Detroit Lions (2-6) (Last Week: 31) - A big win against the dying Packers possibly saved Dan Campbell’s job, but is it something they can build on? Other mediocre teams that beat the Packers were able to build upon it (Giants, Commanders), so maybe it really is Detroit’s turn.
- Indianapolis Colts (3-5-1) (Last Week: 26) - After a disgusting loss to the Patriots, the Colts fired head coach Frank Reich and brought in former Colt and current analyst Jeff Saturday to be their interim HC. Frank Reich has certainly been a disappointment, but I don’t think they’re going to find much solace in Jeff Saturday.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6) (Last Week: 29) - Bye week, so they get to stay put! Has Trevor Lawrence been a better quarterback than Davis Mills? I think so, but the fact the question gives some pause is a sobering reality to Jaguars fans.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (2-6) (Last Week: 30) - Bye week, so they get to stay put! To avoid his first losing season ever, Mike Tomlin is going to have revive the Steelers like he did in 2019, but is that even possible this year?
- Houston Texans (1-6-1) (Last Week: 32) - We’re going back up, again! Even though the Texans fell to the same demons again on Thursday, putting up a fight against the Eagles, especially on the offensive line, is very impressive.
- Carolina Panthers (2-7) (Last Week: 28) - So much for the comeback against the Falcons! The Texans are bad, but the Panthers were definitely the most inept professional football team to play last week.
Next week, the Texans travel up to New York to face the 6-2 Giants. Davis Mills and the Houston offensive line will have another chance to get some leverage at the line-of-scrimmage and make some plays through the air, but will it be enough to outscore Saquon Barkley? Probably not, but we’ll see on Sunday!
Follow me on Twitter: @FizzyJoe