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Houston Texans beat Detroit Lions, but flaws exposed

The Houston Texans are 10-1 and control their own destiny in the playoff race, but all isn't sunny for these AFC heavies.

Thursday's 34-31 overtime win over the Detroit Lions produced a pile of game film that promises to have Texans coach Gary Kubiak and his defensive coordinator, Wade Phillips, burning the midnight oil.

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford threw over, around and through the Texans' defense without interruption. Four days after the Texans allowed the Jacksonville Jaguars to pour out 378 passing yards, Stafford ripped off 31 completions for 441 yards and two touchdowns. Houston didn't have an answer for Stafford's handiwork.

Granted, this happened without cornerback Johnathon Joseph in the lineup, but even when he returns, the Texans remain a damaged, banged-up defense.

Phillips initially was masterful in masking linebacker Brian Cushing's absence, but the injuries keep coming for the Texans. Linebacker Bradie James was lost Thursday with a hamstring injury, and yet another linebacker, Brooks Reed, was lost with a groin injury that appeared serious.

Cushing was excellent in pass coverage, able to blanket the conference's top tight ends and take away the middle of the field. There isn't another front-seven player in Houston capable of that, one reason we're seeing teams throw on the Texans at will.

Phillips has worked magic with this group of players, but Houston is far from invincible because of these deficiencies. The Texans will be there in January, but this recent play has etched the blueprint for how this team can be tested -- and possibly taken down.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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