The AFC is in flux this week. The Bills, Colts, Chiefs, and Chargers all lost this past week. The Bills are hanging on by a thread. The Colts lost to Ryan Fitzpatrick and have gone from leading the AFC South to looking up at the top six teams. The Chiefs are 6-4 and seem like the best team in a bad division, which will mean they’d have to play in the Wild Card Round this January. The Chargers are probably completely out of it after losing to Oakland on Thursday night.
The current playoff picture in the AFC is as follows:
- New England Patriots
- Baltimore Ravens
- Houston Texans
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Buffalo Bills
- Pittsburgh Steelers
The next four out are Oakland, which has the tiebreaker over the Colts, Indianapolis, Tennessee, and Jacksonville.
The Texans got an unexpected boost in the division during their bye when the Colts lost a home clunker to the tanking Dolphins. That put the Texans ahead by a full game. Week 10 also made clear that the Titans aren’t going away, either. Regardless, the Texans need to be sharp as they return this week. They have a brutal stretch upcoming with consecutive games against the Ravens, Colts and Patriots.
Next up: at Baltimore
Sunday afternoon’s game against Baltimore is the big one. Houston is 6-3. Baltimore is 7-2. If the Texans lose to the Ravens, they’ll be two games behind them and won’t have the tiebreaker, so it’s really two and a half back. A Houston loss this weekend would mean the Texans would probably have to do something they’ve never done before—beat the New England Patriots to pick up a bye in the 2019 NFL Playoffs. Even then, with this rough three game stretch and the Colts on a short week sandwiched between the Ravens and Colts, a playoff berth is far from secure.
That’s what’s on the line as the Texans prepare for the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.