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Week 14 NFL Power Rankings: Houston Texans Stay At No. 7

A dominant defense and ground game have kept the Texans among the NFL's elite despite starting their third-string QB.

HOUSTON - DECEMBER 04:  Quarterback T.J. Yates #13 of the Houston Texans  throws against the Atlanta Falcons at Reliant Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON - DECEMBER 04: Quarterback T.J. Yates #13 of the Houston Texans throws against the Atlanta Falcons at Reliant Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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In the latest batch of NFL Power Rankings from SBNation, the 9-3 Houston Texans remain at No. 7:

7. Houston Texans (9-3, LW: 7): Impressive, Houston. They've won three games with three different quarterbacks. That's a good sign for the playoffs, even if I'm skeptical of the T.J. Yates era.

A team with the 3rd-rated rushing attack in the NFL and one of the top defenses against the run and the pass doesn't need much from their QB position to win in the regular season.

Playing against a solid Atlanta Falcons team in his first career NFL start, rookie QB T.J. Yates did enough to keep Houston in the game, completing 12-25 passes for 188 yards with only one fumble, although a pick-six he threw in the fourth quarter was called back because of a defensive penalty. 

This week's game at Cincinnati will be the biggest test left for Yates in the regular season, as Houston's only other road game is against a win-less Indianapolis team that has long since packed it in.

With the Wade Phillips-coached defense playing at an elite level and Arian Foster and Ben Tate clicking on the ground, the Texans could put themselves in a position for a first-round bye as long as Yates doesn't lose games for them by turning the ball over.

For the most up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the Texans anywhere, head over to Battle Red Blog.

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