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2015 AFC Playoff Race: Your Week 14 Rooting Guide For The Texans To Make The Playoffs

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Beyond the top three teams in the AFC, the rest of the conference is a jumbled, indecipherable mess. Let's break it all down, shall we?

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After losing to the Bills last week, Houston is now on the outside looking in when it comes to the race for an AFC wild card. Sitting at 6-6 with four games to go, the Texans have already lost to two of the four teams that currently sit above them in the conference standings. If Houston falls below a .500 record this Sunday when the Patriots come to town, it may become a division-championship-or-bust situation if the Texans want to make the playoffs. Here is where the AFC stands for "the contenders" at the start of Week 14.

Team

Win-Loss

Division Record

Conference Record

(1) Cincinnati Bengals

10-2

4-0

8-1

(2) Denver Broncos

10-2

3-1

6-2

(3) New England Patriots

10-2

4-0

7-1

(4) Indianapolis Colts

6-6

3-0

4-4

(WC) Kansas City Chiefs

7-5

3-1

6-2

(WC) New York Jets

7-5

2-2

5-4

Pittsburgh Steelers

7-5

1-2

4-4

Buffalo Bills

6-6

3-2

6-5

Houston Texans

6-6

2-1

4-4

I touched on the potentially complicated tiebreaking scenarios for the AFC South crown earlier this week, but if the right teams win this weekend we might be able to avoid that kind of mess entirely.

New England at Houston

Who you should root for: Houston.

Why you should root for them: The Patriots haven’t lost three games in a row since before some of their younger fans were even born. Those children should be taught what disappointment feels like at a young age; it builds character.

Seattle at Baltimore

Who you should root for: Baltimore.

Why you should root for them: I kind of feel bad for Matt Schaub…just a little bit.

Atlanta at Carolina

Who you should root for: Carolina.

Why you should root for them: As explained earlier this week, Atlanta needs to keep losing in order to hurt Indianapolis’ "strength of victory", which kicks in if the tie-breaking procedures for the AFC South championship need to escalate that far.

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati

Who you should root for: Cincinnati.

Why you should root for them: The Texans need the Bengals to essentially win out now, as each Bengals win bolsters Houston’s "strength of victory" in the tiebreakers.

San Francisco at Cleveland

Who you should root for: San Francisco.

Why you should root for them: Blaine Gabbert suddenly turning into a serviceable quarterback for a team other than the Jaguars would amuse me.

Indianapolis at Jacksonville

Who you should root for: Jacksonville.

Why you should root for them: Speaking of the Jags, we need them to beat the Colts this weekend. A loss for Indy combined with an improbable win for Houston would put the Texans in the driver’s seat for the division. All aboard the Gus Bus, y’all.

San Diego at Kansas City

Who you should root for: San Diego.

Why you should root for them: As unlikely as this is, Houston could still finish with a wild card berth if the Chiefs go on a catastrophic losing streak to end the season.

Tennessee at New York Jets

Who you should root for: New York.

Why you should root for them: Every Jets win helps out Houston’s "strength of victory" in the tie-breaking procedures.

Buffalo at Philadelphia

Who you should root for: Philadelphia.

Why you should root for them: Just like with the Chiefs, a series of losses for the Bills could open the door for the Texans to get back in the wild card hunt.

New Orleans at Tampa Bay

Who you should root for: New Orleans.

Why you should root for them: Yet another big game for Houston’s "strength of victory" record.

Oakland at Denver

Who you should root for: Oakland.

Why you should root for them: The Colts miraculously beat the Broncos earlier this season, which means Denver is the best team on Indy’s record for "strength of victory". If the Broncos lose, that hurts the Colts in tie-breaking scenarios.

The race for the AFC playoffs is currently a convoluted mess with a month still to go in the regular season.  With any luck, we will get some much needed clarity this Sunday. If the right teams win at just the right time, we may yet see NRG Stadium host a playoff game once again.

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