RAHEEL RAMZANALI

State of Texas team power rankings - Week 2

DeAndre Hopkins and the Texans take over the top spot. Zach Tarrant/Houstontexans.com

I really enjoyed rankings teams last week so I want to stay focused on this for a while and see how many weeks I can rank teams before I lose interest. With that being said, let’s jump right into it!

  1. Houston Texans (Previous week ranking 1): They lead the division and continue to win. I know the first three wins of this streak felt gifted, but this one against the Broncos did not to me. The Broncos were in desperate need of a win and the Texans had just enough to pull it off. The offense could have been better in the second half, but the defense did its job and limited points. I count this as a legit win even though it took a missed FG to pull it off.

  2. San Antonio Spurs (Previous week ranking 6): With everyone ahead of them losing since the last time I opened up Google Docs and with them being the only team to be above 500 in the Southwest, the Spurs by default move up to number 2 in the rankings.

  3. Texas Longhorns (Previous week ranking 3): OMG DOES DANA NOT UNDERSTAND THAT HE SHOULDN’T BE GOING FOR 2 WHEN YOU CAN PLAY FOR OVERTIME?!?! Ugh, what a call. I was in Austin for the game and saw my beloved Horns fall to friend of the show Dana Holgerson. Sam Ehlinger balled out, but the defense didn’t help him out. Tough loss for the Horns, but it was at least a tough fight.

  4. Houston Rockets (Previous week ranking 8): Carmelo Anthony did the damn thing on Friday night against the Nets. He provided another scoring threat and played some great defense in the fourth. Props to him.

  5. Texas A&M (Previous week ranking 5): The hardest thing to do in the SEC is win games because they just mean so much more according to the conference and the Aggies learned a valuable lesson on finishing out games. Tough loss, but a lot of good can be taken away from this loss.

  6. Houston Cougars (Previous week ranking 2): Guess that Texas Tech loss won’t hurt as much anymore now that SMU is a thing. Something about that pesky SMU squad that the Cougars can’t overcome on the road.

  7. Dallas Mavericks (Previous week ranking 7): They are 2-7 now. They didn’t win a game all week. Blessings to them.

  8. Fayetteville Woodpeckers (Previous week ranking: unranked): OK, Fayetteville isn’t in Texas, but they are the Houston Astros Class A Advanced team affiliate and they automatically are better than the Cowboys because of how awesome their mascot looks.

  9. Dallas Cowboys (Previous week ranking 11): The only reason the Cowboys moved up two spots is because I ran out of teams to put ahead of them. LOLOLOLOL the Cowboys.

 

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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