The Houston Texans have a chance to end the regular season with momentum, plus J.J. Watt returns for the playoffs.
There are a few things the Houston Texans need to accomplish in Week 17 as the final week of the regular season has arrived. Granted, the Texans are already the back-to-back champions of the AFC South, but there is also a chance they can jump up to the No. 3 seed of the AFC Playoffs if they defeat the Tennessee Titans this Sunday and the Kansas City Chiefs lose to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Either way, if the Texans are the No. 3 seed or the No. 4 seed in the playoffs, they will be playing at NRG Stadium in the Wild Card round of the AFC Playoffs, and the Texans have a lot to prove in the playoffs, especially after last year’s letdown against the Indianapolis Colts in the same Wild Card round at NRG Stadium.
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This year, if the Texans are the No. 4 seed, they will be facing the Buffalo Bills, but if they jump up to the No. 3 seed they could face either the Oakland Raiders or the Pittsburgh Steelers, or even the Titans if they defeat Tennessee, plus the Baltimore Ravens defeat the Steelers and the Colts defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars, as tiebreakers would come into effect.
Any way you look at it, the Texans mentally need to get over their past playoff blunders as a franchise and not only focus on winning in Week 17 for playoff momentum, but being prepared as possible for the Wild Card game, because if you remember last year that wasn’t the case.
Injuries were a big factor for the Texans last year in the playoffs too, as they had injuries at wide receiver that hurt the team. This year is no different with Will Fuller most likely out for a second straight year in the playoffs, so we’ll see which wide receiver steps up in his role. Last year in the playoffs Keke Coutee had a career-type performance, but this season he has achieved very little.
Speaking of injuries, defensive end J.J. Watt is scheduled to return for the playoff game as he’s been healing from a torn pectoral from earlier this season. When Watt was injured, he had collected four sacks, 15 solo tackles and a forced fumble. Watt’s injury even happened on a tackle for loss against the Oakland Raiders on Oct. 27.
In an article by Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com, Watt was quoted about his return for the playoffs:
"“I feel extremely excited about being able to be back on the practice field with the guys,” Watt said. “The medical team here has done a great job. There’s obviously an element of risk involved as well. I understand.”"
This is exciting news for the Texans, and if Watt can be productive for the playoff game, well, that could help the defense have a better pass rush against most likely the Bills and Josh Allen, who is a threat passing the football, but also running with the football too.
Remember, the Texans have been moved back to a 4:25 ET (3:25 CT) start due to the varying playoff possibilities for the Raiders, Titans and Steelers, so that means there should be some excellent late afternoon drama for all of the aforementioned teams.
The final Predictions for Sunday are as follows:
– Houston defeats Tennessee, 28-17
– Chiefs win over Chargers to seal No. 3 seed
– Ravens defeat Steelers
– Colts defeat Jaguars
– Houston will face Buffalo in the Wild Card round
Houston is in a good spot right now, and they will know if they have a shot at the No. 3 playoff spot before they even take their first snap on Sunday. Enjoy the final week of the regular season, and let’s all watch how Week 17 unfolds.