With their victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers yesterday, your Houston Texans have won the AFC South. Any dreams of a winner-take-the-division game in Week 17 between the Texans and Titans were dashed in Tampa when that happened.
But the Steelers went and lost the Jets earlier today, which means the Titans find themselves in a win-and-you’re-in (or go-ahead-and-lose-but-you’re still-in-if-the-Steelers-lose) scenario when Tennessee comes to Houston to close out the regular season next weekend. The Bills are locked in to the first wild card berth in the AFC Playoffs, but the Titans are very much in play for the sixth and final seed. That’s not the same drama that the 49ers and Seahawks will provide, what with one of them winning the NFC West and perhaps the top seed in the NFC Playoffs while the other is relegated to a wild card berth—hence, why they’re the Sunday Night Football game—but there’s drama nonetheless, and CBS wants a piece of it, so the Texans-Titans game in Week 17 has been moved from a noon kickoff to a 3:25 p.m. CST kick.
It remains to be seen how the Texans handle next week’s game. The Chiefs beat the Bears tonight, improving to 11-4 and thus remaining a game ahead of the Texans for the third seed in the AFC Playoffs, which means the Texans’ hope of regaining the third seed rests on the Chiefs losing the Chargers and the Texans beating the Titans next week. Is it worth playing what appears to be a hobbled Deshaun Watson and/or several other starters in a potentially meaningless game for Houston? Will that decision be made after the Chiefs-Chargers game goes final, presumably before Texans-Titans kicks off? Or should the Texans relish the opportunity to win every game possible, with the added bonus of doing everything possible to keep the franchise that used to be the Oilers out of the postseason?
I await your answers to those queries and more in the Comments.