The Texans took care of business, like they take care of every day, and took down the vile Tennessee Titans 24-21 yesterday. It was close. It was stupid. It was absurd. Tennessee came back in the second half, but Houston held on and led a big field goal drive that started at their own nine yard line when they needed to. And most importantly, it was a lot of fun.
For the playoff picture, this win for the Texans was vital. The Texans now need to just beat the Buccaneers in Tampa this weekend, or have Tennessee lose to the Saints, to win the division. If Houston lose to Tampa, and the Titans beat the Saints, then Week 17 becomes an AFC South Championship Game at NRG Stadium. The Texans have the tiebreaker because they have, and would have, the better divisional record since they swept the Jaguars and the Titans didn’t.
After dispatching the Titans on Sunday, the Texans are now one victory away from winning the AFC South. In that scenario, FPI projects a 72.2% chance of the Texans keeping the No. 4 seed. They do hold a head-to-head tiebreaker with the Chiefs, however, and could overtake Kansas City at No. 3 if they win one more game than the Chiefs the rest of the way.
Houston should win the AFC South. With that thing set aside, we can take a peek upwards. They are currently a game behind the 10-4 Chiefs. Kansas City plays the Bears in Chicago and the Chargers at home to end their regular season The Texans have a slightly tougher schedule than the Chiefs. Even though the division is almost locked up, there are still more things to play for.
The difference between the #4 and #5 seed right now is the difference between hosting the Steelers instead of the Bills in the first round, and the difference between going to New England instead of Baltimore in the second round. If Houston wins out and Kansas City falters, the Texans will have a possible path to the AFC Championship Game with match-ups against the Steelers and Patriots.
This is all a lot of extrapolating and soothsaying, of course. There’s two more regular season games to be played. Houston plays Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers at 12 p.m. CST this Saturday.