After a tough 25-20 loss to the Oakland Raiders that saw a potentially game-winning pass intercepted in the end zone, the Houston Texans have slipped out of the top ten of the latest SBNation NFL Power Rankings:
11. Houston Texans (3-2, LW: 7): I really like this team -- and it could be their year to get over the playoff hump -- but they're getting killed with injuries. First, Arian Foster early in the year, which they survived. Second, Andre Johnson for three weeks. And now Mario Williams -- for the entire season. Ouch.
As Thorman notes, much more worrisome than a loss to a feisty Oakland team are the injuries to the Texans' stars. Houston has had enough offensive firepower to hang in games without Arian Foster and Andre Johnson, but losing Mario Williams to a season-ending pectoral injury is a devastating blow.
There's simply no way to replace a two-time All-Pro 6'6 295 defensive end who averaged a sack a game, especially in new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips' defense, which emphasizes getting after the passer.
The road gets no easier for the Texans, as they have to take their injury-plagued squad on successive trips to division-leading Baltimore and Tennessee in the next two weeks, both known for their hard-hitting defenses.