Sorting The Sunday NFL Mess, Week 13: Texans Likely Heading To Playoffs As Complete Team, Packers Humiliated And, Packers Fire Mike McCarthy After Stunning loss To Cardinals

Mike McCarthy became the second NFL coach to be dismissed this season after the Packers parted ways with him on Sunday night.

     
 
 

The Green Bay Packers made the drastic move many were growing to expect this season.

Coach Mike McCarthy was fired by the franchise on Sunday night after a 20-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, ending his nearly 13-year tenure that included a Super Bowl victory.

Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin will take over as interim coach of the 4-7-1 Packers.

“The 2018 season has not lived up to the expectations and standards of the Green Bay Packers. As a result, I made the difficult decision to relieve Mike McCarthy of his role as head coach, effective immediately,” Packers president and CEO Mike Murphy said. “Mike has been a terrific head coach and leader of the Packers for 13 seasons, during which time we experienced a great deal of success on and off the field. 

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Plus more news and notes from around the NFL

For several weeks in October, the Houston Texans were going streaking, ripping off a few wins in a row and causing talking heads to spin out of control screaming about their fraudulent nature. They "weren't beating anyone" or "were getting lucky" with wins. Turns out, we may have prematurely buried the Texans, who won their ninth game in a row on Sunday, deconstructing the upstart Browns in impressive fashion and winning 29-13 in a game that was never remotely close.



What stood out to me was the complete way in which the Texans lit up the Browns: Myles Garrett sacked Deshaun Watson twice on the first drive, but that was the only real hint of competition. After that, the Texans picked off Baker Mayfield three times and bottled up everything Cleveland tried to do on offense. 

Just like Monday night's game against the Titans, this matchup featured Texans defenders flying all over the field, making plays, hitting the Browns receivers and running backs before they could start picking up any yards after the catch and generally just locking down everything Cleveland wanted to do on offense. 

The game was 23-0 before Nick Chubb found the end zone in the third quarter to give Cleveland a modicum of respectability; Houston snuffed out everything the Browns wanted to do on offense. Offensively they weren't perfect; nine of their first-half points came from Ka'imi Fairbairn field goals and another seven came from a defensive touchdown. 

That defense, though ... man. They are starting to come together in a big way. The Texans have now allowed more than 20 points just three times in their nine-game win streak. One of those times was an overtime victory over the Colts in Week 4, another in a TNF slaughter of the Dolphins and then the third a 21-point effort by the Redskins in a close road victory.

Offensively, Watson has as much upside as any quarterback in the NFL on a weekly basis. When he gets hot, he gets hot. Lamar Miller is running well. DeAndre Hopkinsmight be the best receiver in football. 

This is a star-heavy team, but the stars are healthy and producing. Bill O'Brien's taken the Texans to the playoffs before, but he never had a good cast of players or a healthy, quality quarterback. Houston's trending in the right direction and could very well steal the No. 2 seed from the Patriots. Even if they don't, the Texans are all but locked in for a home playoff game. Things could break wrong for them and it could be against the Chargers or Steelers, but right now it does not matter. The Texans are taking on all challengers.

Mike McCarthy fired

The Packers lost in humiliating fashion on Sunday, laying an egg at home against the Cardinals in a bad weather game they lost 20-17. It was so inexplicable Green Bay actually fired Mike McCarthy after the game, making him just the second head coach who won a Super Bowl with his team to be fired in the middle of the season. 

Green Bay will be a highly-coveted position, but don't sleep on the fact that this could be a bigger rebuild than people think. Tom Silverstein of PackersNews.com has an interesting read here; instant success is far from guaranteed because of how the Packers roster is situated.

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