The biggest defensive star in the Lone Star state is out. That's a void for the Houston Texans as big as, well, J.J. Watt's persona.
In the mediocre AFC South, which Houston (2-1) leads, losing its best player could bring the defending division champion back to the field — as uninspiring as the Titans, Colts and Jaguars might be.
With the Texans coming off a no-show at New England, visiting Tennessee could be feeling pretty frisky about its chances Sunday.
"I'm very disappointed about that," says Tennessee left tackle Taylor Lewan, who would have matched up a lot with Watt.
"I've said before if you want to be the best you've got to go against the best. I want to be the best left tackle in this league. I want the opportunity to go against all the best guys."
Houston's best on D for now will have to be Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus.
"Jadeveon is playing awesome, Whitney," Lewan adds. "So a lot of those guys, they're going to give me all they've got. I've got to come with my `A' game for sure."
The Texans didn't even bring their `D' game to Foxborough in prime time. That 27-0 rout was more of an `F.'
And now, no J.J.
"When you have that kind of ability and that kind of playmaking it's hard to replace with one guy," Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel notes. "So we're going to ask all the guys on defense to pick it up, to put a little extra in it and see if we can gain some of those plays that J.J. used to make."