NFL Week 14 Power Rankings: Streaking Texans are legit Super Bowl contenders after starting season 0-3

After a home loss to the New York Giants in Week Three this season, many were ready to bury Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien, even some listing him as a possibility to be the first to be fired. Now a strong case can be made that O’Brien could be the NFL Coach of the Year.

After a home loss to the New York Giants in Week Three this season, many were ready to bury Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien, even some listing him as a possibility to be the first to be fired.

Now a strong case can be made that O’Brien could be the NFL Coach of the Year.

The Texans started 0-3, but have ripped off nine straight victories as the hottest team in the league. They are the first team to accomplish that in league history, which is a tribute to O’Brien.

I’ve always considered him one of the better coaches in the league, a bright offensive mind who just needed some time to get things going with the Texans. He was limited by bad quarterback play in his first few seasons, some of that by quarterbacks he is said to not even want on the roster. See Brock Osweiler.

Now he has Deshaun Watson under center and the Texans are legitimate Super Bowl contenders. With a fierce pass rush on defense to go with Watson, they have the ingredients to make a deep playoff run.

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If the Jacksonville Jaguars were to beat the Tennessee Titans Thursday night, the Texans can clinch the AFC South by beating the Indianapolis Colts Sunday. That would be a heck of a turnaround for a team that was staring 0-4 in the face in their first meeting with the Colts in Week 4, but rallied to win overtime. 

The Texans are up to No. 5 in my Power Rankings this week. They are also pushing the Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots for a first-round bye and potential home-field advantage in the playoffs.

Nine weeks ago, that would have been absurd to say.

Give O’Brien credit for turning things around. The September chatter about sending him packing seems laughable now.

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Biggest Movers
 
1

Rams

They continue to win games putting up big numbers on offense. But now they get the ultimate challenge facing a good Bears defense on the road. 1 11-1-0
2

Chiefs

They will be without Kareem Hunt the rest of the way since he’s been released, but the offense will be fine. Patrick Mahomes can score on anybody. 1 10-2-0
3

Patriots

It’s December, so here come the Patriots. The defense is improving by the week. 1 9-3-0
4

Saints

We’ll give them a mulligan for the game at Dallas last week. They are just too good on offense to think it will be a pattern. 3 10-2-0
5

Texans

The only major concern with this team remains the offensive line, but Deshaun Watson’s ability to move can compensate for that some. 3 9-3-0
6

Cowboys

This team has come alive at the right time. That defense is legitimate as they face a big division game with the Eagles. 5 7-5-0
7

Seahawks

Pete Carroll should be mentioned as a Coach of the Year candidate and Russell Wilson is in the MVP talk. They will be a playoff team. 5 7-5-0
8

Bears

Even with a dominant defense, they can’t just line up and win with anybody at quarterback. They need Mitch Trubisky back this week against the Rams. 3 8-4-0
9

Chargers

That was an impressive victory on the road against the Steelers. Philip Rivers has been special this season. 3 9-3-0
10

Steelers

That was not a good home loss to the Chargers. Why didn’t they run the ball with the lead? 3 7-4-1
11

Ravens

Lamar Jackson has won three straight to get this team into playoff contention. But now comes a real tough one against the Chiefs on the road. 3 7-5-0
12

Colts

That was a bad look against the Jaguars last week. Their season will be decided this week against the Texans. 3 6-6-0
13

Vikings

The offense just wasn’t good enough against the Patriots. They need more from Kirk Cousins in big games. 3 6-5-1
14

Broncos

Here come the Broncos. They have a soft schedule and can really make a playoff push. 5 6-6-0
15

Eagles

They looked like a playoff contender against the Redskins. But they must beat the Cowboys this week to have a chance. 3 6-6-0
16

Panthers

What has happened to this team? Four straight losses has them in jeopardy of missing the postseason. 3 6-6-0
17

Dolphins

They are still alive in the push to be a wild-card team. The schedule isn’t that tough either. 3 6-6-0
18

Redskins

They are down to their third quarterback in a season full of injuries. It’s on to 2019 now. 3 6-6-0
19

Titans

They saved their playoff chances with that late-game touchdown pass by Marcus Mariota against the Jets. But they can’t afford another loss. 3 6-6-0
20

Packers

With Mike McCarthy fired, the rest of the season is getting ready for 2019. Who will be the coach next season? 3 4-7-1
21

Buccaneers

Jameis Winston is making a case he should be the starter in Tampa next year. 5 5-7-0
22

Browns

Baker Mayfield looked like a rookie against the Texans, but that can happen. They still have their long-term guy, which is a good thing. 1 4-7-1
23

Bengals

Without Andy Dalton, they are done. Is this the end for Marvin Lewis? 1 5-7-0
24

Giants

They are still fighting and their playmakers are making plays. They’ve actually won three of four. 1 4-8-0
25

Falcons

It’s hard to believe they are this far down. They just haven’t looked right this season. 2 4-8-0
26

Lions

Matt Patricia’s first season is done in terms of a playoff chance. They really lack skill players on offense. 2 4-8-0
27

Bills

They battle every week, which is a good sign for Sean McDermott. Now it’s time to get him more talent. 4-8-0
28

Jaguars

They showed a defense against the Colts that most expected to see this season. Where has that been? 4-8-0
29

Cardinals

With all the talk of coach Steve Wilks being a one-and-done, winning at Green Bay is a good thing for him. They battled, which wasn’t the case the week before. 1 3-9-0
30

Raiders

The bad season just keeps getting worse. They just don’t have enough players. 1 2-10-0
31

49ers

They need this season to be over. It’s time to look to 2019 when they get Jimmy Garoppolo back. 2-10-0
32

Jets

They competed at Tennessee, but they just aren’t good enough right now. Is a new coach coming? 3-9-0

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