The Houston Texans can't afford to lose another game if they hope to make the playoffs

Losing is no longer an option if post-season glory is the goal.
Cleveland Browns v Houston Texans
Cleveland Browns v Houston Texans / Richard Rodriguez/GettyImages

Despite an up-and-down season that few expected would be this good, the Houston Texans are 8-7, far ahead of the rebuild that many expected and actually poised for the playoffs. All they have to do is win out. That's it. They're currently tied with the Indianapolis Colts at 8-7, and the Colts hold the tie-breaker over the Texans. That puts them in the seventh and final playoff spot.

A playoff spot that, if the Texans win out, will be there. The Texans have to beat the Tennessee Titans this week to keep pace in the playoff hunt. The Titans aren't a great team and have had issues all year. If C.J. Stroud is ready to return (or even Davis Mills if Stroud's not ready), then the Texans will likely secure their ninth win of the season. Assuming the Colts match that pace and defeat the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday, both teams will go into their last game, against one another, at 9-7.

The winner would then get the last playoff spot. Yet, they aren't the only ones vying for that last playoff spot; the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers are also 8-7, with the Raiders and Denver Broncos still holding onto hope at 7-8. A loss by the Texans wouldn't eliminate them from the postseason, but it would all but make sure they don't make it.

After all, the spots ahead of them are all but locked up. The Buffalo Bills will likely secure their postseason bid after defeating the New England Patriots on Sunday, and the Cleveland Browns will likely lock up theirs with a win over the New York Jets. Neither team should lose on Sunday and that means that two wild card spots would be off the board.

That leaves just one playoff spot for the Colts and Titans to fight over. A playoff spot that stops being either one of theirs if either team loses before Week 18. Now, both teams could still get in via the AFC South, but again, the only hope they have of getting that spot is by winning out. If either the Texans or the Colts lose and the Jaguars win, then they're done in that race.

The only hope the Texans have for a playoff appearance in early 2024 is to win out.

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