The No. 4 seed Houston Texans earned their first playoff victory in four years on Saturday afternoon with a resounding effort over the No. 5 seed Cleveland Browns. Despite being home underdogs, the Texans took care of business with a 45-14 win at NRG Stadium.
Three of the four AFC Divisional Round spots have been secured, with the No. 3 seed Kansas City Chiefs having also taken care of business at home on Saturday against the No. 6 seed Miami Dolphins. The No. 1 seed Baltimore Ravens punched their ticket by securing the conference's lone first round bye.
The Texans' opponent will be determined by the result of the game between the No. 2 seed Buffalo Bills and the No. 7 seed Pittsburgh Steelers, which was postponed from Sunday afternoon to Monday afternoon due to a winter storm.
If the Bills take care of business at home, the Texans would be the lowest remaining seed in the AFC and thus head to Baltimore to take on the Ravens. If the Steelers pull off the upset, the Texans would head to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs.
Will Houston Texans play next Saturday or Sunday?
It's safe to assume that the NFL will not schedule the winner of a Monday game to play again the following Saturday, as that would only give that team four days of rest in between games.
Since the league introduced a Monday game to the playoff schedule, the winner has always played the following Sunday. We saw this with the Los Angeles Rams two years ago, and we saw it again with the Dallas Cowboys last year.
While the Bills vs. Steelers game wasn't initially supposed to be contested on Monday, it's hard to imagine that the winner would be scheduled to play again on Saturday.
As a result, expect the Texans to play next Saturday, January 20, not next Sunday, January 21.
Of the three teams that have already advanced, the Texans are the only team that cannot possibly play the Bills or the Steelers in the Divisional Round.
While there is nothing that prevents the league from scheduling both of a conference's Divisional Round games on the same day, we cannot ignore the fact that there is also the initially scheduled Monday game to consider, featuring two NFC teams: the No. 4 seed Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the No. 5 seed Philadelphia Eagles.
This effectively ensures that an NFC Divisional Round game will be scheduled for next Sunday as well, thus ensuring that there will only be one NFC game on Saturday as opposed to two.
As a result, whichever AFC game does not feature the Bills or the Steelers would have to be inserted into a Saturday calendar slot. And that game is guaranteed to feature the Texans.