Pro Football Focus doesn’t rank the Texans dead last in NFL power rankings

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The Houston Texans aren’t the worst team in the NFL.

So says Pro Football Focus, which released its 2021 power rankings ahead of the season. In their evaluation, the Detroit Lions are the worst team in the NFL at No. 32. The Texans are merely No. 31 overall.

Pro Football Focus gives the Texans a Super Bowl win probability of less than one percent. The Texans’ highest graded player according to PFF is Brandin Cooks at 81.1.

What makes the Texans bottom dwellers in everybody’s power rankings is the amount of unknowns the team is facing, which tends to consternate prognosticators.

How good can a 65-year-old rookie coach be when he has never even held a coordinator position in his 27 seasons in the NFL? This is a question that will surround David Culley until the Texans get a few games under their belt. If they don’t have any success, the question metastasizes into a fault.

Who will start at quarterback given the situation with three-time Pro Bowler Deshaun Watson? The offense isn’t making a lateral move from Watson to another franchise quarterback. They are taking a step back to a journeyman in Tyrod Taylor or a third-round rookie in Davis Mills. The organization may have to pay the price for their lack of vision, or undergo growing pains.

Does new defensive coordinator Lovie Smith have what it takes to successfully execute his Tampa 2 scheme at the pro level? It didn’t seem to take at the University of Illinois, where he spent the last five seasons.

What generates the Texans’ low placement in the power rankings is the fear of the unknown. If Houston can provide substantive answers to these questions after the first few games, even if the results aren’t necessarily favorable in the W-L column, then they should avoid the title of “worst team in the NFL.”