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Week 16 NFL Power Rankings: Yates Comes Back To Earth

The talented rookie could not make up for a defense playing without their coordinator on Sunday.

After leading the Houston Texans to victories in the first three starts of his career, QB T.J. Yates reminded everyone that he still a rookie he is in Houston's 28-13 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

But with few great NFL teams this year, the 10-4 Texans remain at No. 7 in SBNation's latest NFL Power Rankings:

7. Houston Texans (10-4, LW: 7): I really don't know what to make of the Texans, especially if Wade Phillips' absence is going to affect their defense that much. That defense has been their strength and they were pushed around last Sunday. That said, they've still won seven of their last eight.

A strong defense is a young QB's best friend, keeping the offense in the game and preventing them from falling behind by double-digits and becoming one dimensional.

And without coordinator Wade Phillips, who missed Sunday's game while recovering from surgery on his kidney and gall bladder Sunday, Houston's defense couldn't prevent Carolina QB Cam Newton from having a huge day.

But there's no time to rest in the NFL, as the Texans have a short turn-around this week with a road game against the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday.

For more in-depth analysis of the Texans, head on over to Battle Red Blog.

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.