2019 NFL Power Rankings:
No. 11 Houston Texans
I hate watching Deshaun Watson scramble for his life every time he drops back. Love watching the magic he creates whenever he’s forced to play hero ball. I’m still genuinely afraid for DW4. Luckily for Bill O’Brien and the gang, Watson is a warrior who’ll drive from Houston to Jacksonville to ball with his bros. Need proof? He did so last year, taking a 12-hour bus ride with a cracked rib, bruised lung and partially collapsed lung, and still led the Texans to a 20-7 win. Though Watson’s been able to stay off the injury report through the first two weeks of 2019, the Texans still have significant problems on the offensive line.
The acquisition of Laremy Tunsil made sense. I don’t care what Bill O’Brien had to give up. When you have a franchise quarterback at your disposal, the job is to protect him. So far, that hasn’t been the case, as the Texans gave up 10 sacks to begin the season, but it’s a work in progress. Shit, if things don’t get fixed quickly, we may not get 16 games worth of Deshaun.
Weapons on weapons on weapons. Houston is loaded with more artillery than a trap house. Kenny Stills and Will Fuller are deep threats that kill defenders with speed. Duke Johnson, who should be getting more touches, is one of the game’s best receiving tailbacks and an upgrade over Lamar Miller, though some still see him as a third-down back. Carlos Hyde is criminally underrated and respected by his peers. I don’t know why he hasn’t been able to keep a job, but the Texans knew what they were doing by getting the perfect zone-back to fit their system.
And last but not least, DeAndre Hopkins. I think it’s a disservice to rank the league’s top three receivers, but I do know this: Hopkins is in that three. The league’s undisputed Fashion King supplements his lack of speed with a combination of deft routes, sure hands and will. It’s hard to find any better.
The Jadeveon Clowney trade baffled me. He’s consistently been one of the league’s best run-stopping defensive ends and thrived despite constant position changes in Splash Town. I’ll never understand why the team didn’t pay him. It just doesn’t add up. He’s shed the injury-prone label, produced at a high level and is only 26. With Clowney gone, however, Whitney Mercilus has continued to play at a high level alongside J.J. Watt. With those two, Benardrick McKinney/Zach Cunningham and a revamped defensive backfield consisting of Tashaun Gipson Sr., Bradley Roby, Jonathan Joseph and Justin Reed, the boys in the H should continue suffocating their opponents.
Fantasy Players to Watch: Kenny Stills, Deshaun Watson, Lamar Miller, DeAndre Hopkins, Keke Coutee, Carlos Hyde, Texans D/ST.
Offensive Players to Watch: Every single player on the offensive line
Defensive Players to Watch: Justin Reed, Bradley Roby, DJ Reader
Verdict: If it wasn’t for Aaron Colvin’s incompetence late in the Week 1 loss to the Saints, the Texans would be 2-0. Though they aren’t, they benefit from an Andrew Luck-less division that features a rookie quarterback in Gardner Minshew and no quarterback at all in Tennessee. This is a playoff team and one that people need to look out for. 10-6.