2. Houston Texans
After going 3-13-1 in 2022, the Houston Texans made some big moves this offseason. They not only landed head coach DeMeco Ryans, who rose to prominence as the San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator, but they also wound up with the No. 2 and No. 3 overall picks in the 2023 NFL Draft after a shrewd trade.
With those selections, they brought in C.J. Stroud to lead their offense and Will Anderson to anchor the defensive line. Stroud has been better than expected and enters the bye with 1,660 yards and nine touchdowns against only one pick.
Anderson has been solid as well with 25 tackles and one sack while being credited with 10 pressures so far. He hasn't been able to get home as much as he would like but he's still proving to be the real deal.
Houston started slow out of the gate with losses to the Ravens and Colts but has since caught fire. They shocked the Jaguars with a 37-17 win and followed that up with a 30-6 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. They also handed the New Orleans Saints a loss last week, which made up for an upsetting defeat in Atlanta prior to that.
At 3-3 with a 1-1 record in the South, the Texans are in great shape. They have several games they could feasibly win coming up with Carolina, Tampa Bay, and Cincinnati on the schedule before hosting Jacksonville on Nov. 26.
They've started out strong and if they can stack some wins up during that stretch, and maybe get another over the Jags, then perhaps they can move up to No. 1. But for now, they sit at second in the AFC South Power Rankings, which is still an improvement from a year ago.