• My Scores
  • NFL
  • MLB
  • NBA
  • NHL
  • Golf
CBSSports.com Senior NFL Columnist

Power Rankings: Texans, Bears could plummet if backup QBs falter


Updated Nov. 22

Matt Leinart and Caleb Hanie.

How would you like to pin your playoff hopes, and maybe more, on those two quarterbacks?

More on Week 11

Related links
NFL coverage on the go

That's what the Houston Texans and Chicago Bears face in the final two months. They are two of the top 10 teams in our CBSSports.com Power Rankings, and now both must play with a backup quarterback the rest of the way.

The Texans lost Matt Schaub with a foot injury last week, and the Bears lost Jay Cutler with a broken thumb this week.

For Houston, it shouldn't end its playoff hopes. The Texans have essentially a three-game lead in the division with six to go. Only a total collapse would prevent them from making the playoffs.

As for the Bears, they have problems. The schedule is soft, but Hanie has never started a game. At least Leinart was a starter early in his career.

There is some feeling Leinart was too immature when he came into the league with the Arizona Cardinals, ill equipped to handle the expectations of being a high pick, and that the system wasn't tailored to his game the way the Texans system can be.

Leinart will get a good early test Sunday in Jacksonville against the Jaguars' sixth-ranked defense.

As for Hanie, he did some good things in relief of Cutler in the NFC Championship Game, but that's not really a fair way to gauge him. We won't know much about him for certain until he plays against the Raiders this week.

Losing a quarterback can sometimes be a death blow for a team. See: Colts, Indianapolis.

In the case of the Texans, it won't be.

In the case of the Bears, it could be.

It's so weird to see two of the league's power teams reduced to starting backups the rest of the regular season a week apart.


Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. He hosted his own radio show for seven years, and is the self-anointed star of CBS Sports' show, Eye on Football. When he's not watching game tape, you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an Arizona State national title in football.

Biggest Stories

CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
Conversation powered by Livefyre


Most Popular

2016 Super Bowl
Super Bowl