Justin Houston warrants attention

Texans defensive end J.J. Watt is regarded as the NFL's best defensive player, with stupendous stats. Only there's a defensive player out there who has Watt's production, but not his attention.

Justin Houston -- a major reason the Chiefs have won five of their past six games as they head to Buffalo for Sunday's game versus the Bills -- is the best defensive player in football whom so few notice. His production rivals anyone's and screams for Watt-like attention.

Over the past 20 games, Watt has 15½ sacks. In that same 20-game span, Houston has 24 sacks.

This season, Watt leads the NFL in "disrupted dropbacks" -- which includes sacks, passes defended, interceptions and batted balls -- with 15½. Next on the list is Houston with 13.

Watt is the best player on the NFL's 27th-rated defense (in terms of yards per game); Houston is the best player on the NFL's fifth-best defense.

Houston has been so effective that, with a league-leading 12 sacks through eight games, he is on pace for 24 sacks this season, which would break the season record Michael Strahan set in 2001 (22½). Yet Watt seems to get more attention.

Houston has done almost everything Watt has -- without the headlines, without the attention, without the new contract. Houston is the Best Defensive Player No One Talks About. The talk, the attention, the headlines, the contract -- those all will come. This Chiefs team might be better than the one that started last year 9-0, before surrendering a ginormous lead in the wild-card game in Indianapolis. This Chiefs team looks more potent on offense, and just as tough on defense, in large part due to Houston.

Kansas City knows the talent it has in Houston. It tried to re-sign him last summer, before talks broke off when the two sides were too far apart. Eventually the two sides will reconvene. But if this season continues the way it has, the price only will go up. Just as Houston's stats are in line with Watt's, his contract also could be.

Dreary times for Jets: For some reason, sometimes it feels as if the football universe is acting in some great conspiracy against the Jets. There are reminders of this almost every week. This week's are more glaring than most.

The Jets are preparing to face Pittsburgh's rookie wide receiver Martavis Bryant, whom New York bypassed twice in the fourth round of last May's draft.

At pick No. 104, with the selection New York got from Tampa Bay for Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis, the Jets drafted Oklahoma wide receiver Jalen Saunders, who since has been cut.

At pick No. 115, the Jets drafted UCLA wide receiver Shaq Evans, who has been hurt this year.

And three picks later, at No. 118, Pittsburgh picked Bryant, who played at Clemson with Rex Ryan's son and whom the Jets coach and his family knew well.

Bryant has five touchdown receptions in three games -- three fewer than the Jets have thrown for all season.

To see how strong Bryant has been, consider this: Bryant and former college teammate Sammy Watkins are the third set of rookies from the same college each to have five touchdowns in the same season, but the only pair to do it in the first half of the season, per Elias Sports Bureau.

But we digress. Back to the Jets. As if the rookie wide receiver's stats weren't bad enough, the Jets also bid goodbye to Mark Sanchez, who went on to sign with Philadelphia.

There couldn't be a more quarterback-friendly organization and high-flying offense for a player to join. And so, as the Jets are trying to snap their eight-game losing streak against the red-hot Steelers, Sanchez is replacing the injured Nick Foles at quarterback and preparing to make his first start with the Eagles on "Monday Night Football" against the Carolina Panthers.

Eagles coach Chip Kelly has no problems turning to Sanchez. He has been a big fan of the quarterback's work since he got Sanchez into the Eagles' program last spring. Sanchez has impressed, and the Eagles never had a problem turning to him.

Does any Jets fan really think Sanchez isn't going to light it up?

So now, with the wide receiver the Jets passed on last spring squaring off against them Sunday, and the quarterback they let go getting ready to display his talents on "Monday Night Football," a dreary season could get even drearier.

Jets fans have little doubt it will.

Dealing Bucs: At last Tuesday's trade deadline, Tampa Bay opted to keep running back Doug Martin and receiver Vincent Jackson. But their statuses will be revisited after this season.

Multiple people around the league said Tampa Bay still will be open to listening to trade offers for Martin after this season, and though no trade was worked out last week, one could develop this offseason.

Jackson also could be shopped this offseason. The circumstances are ripe for it. Jackson is not expected to be willing to take a pay cut from Tampa Bay after this season, setting up a situation like the one Revis went through with the Buccaneers last offseason, when the team finally released him since no team was willing to trade for him and his contract.

Tampa Bay was the hot bed of activity before last Tuesday's trade deadline, and keep this in mind once the NFL's hot-stove league heats up: It will be busy again this winter.


Player of the Week: Eagles QB Mark Sanchez -- Signed to a one-year deal, this sets up perfectly for Sanchez to shine.

Game of the Week: Dolphins at Lions -- Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who has led the Dolphins to wins in four of their past five games while having runs of 20 or more yards in each of his past four starts, gets one of the toughest defenses he will face this season. If Tannehill keeps performing at this level and is consistent, Miami will be a team to watch.

Upset of the Week: -- Dolphins over Lions. Detroit has been notorious for struggling in the second half of a season. Check out these numbers:

2013: 2-6 record, Matthew Stafford 54 percent completion percentage, 13 TDs and 13 interceptions.

2012: 0-8 record, Stafford 56 percent completion percentage, 12 TDs, 10 interceptions.