The Houston Texans need to beat the Colts or the Browns to ensure a playoff spot

The Houston Texans control their destiny but they have to win ever game from here on out.
Houston Texans v Tennessee Titans
Houston Texans v Tennessee Titans / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages

The Houston Texans once again control their own destiny. The Texans are 8-6 and are one of the few teams in the AFC and NFL as a whole that simply have to win to get into the playoffs. In some cases, like with the Denver Broncos or Pittsburgh Steelers need help to get in. Some teams need to lose for them to have just a shot to get in by winning out.

The Texans don't have to worry about any of that. With three games to go, the Texans have to beat the Cleveland Browns (5th), the Tennessee Titans (eliminated), and the Indianapolis Colts (7th) to get in. And in doing so, they'll not only knock the Colts down (if not out) of the playoffs, but they'll likely end up taking the Browns' spot as the 5th team in the playoffs just by winning out.

And if they win out, that means the Texans will finish with an 11-6 record, and may end up atop the AFC South. Sure, the Texans will have to get some help to win the AFC South, as the Jaguars currently hold the tie-breaker, but if the Jaguars lose just one more game, and the Texans win out, the the Texans take the AFC South for themselves.

The Jaguars however don't have the hardest of schedules. They have the Titans to close out the season and the Carolina Panthers before them, two teams they should easily beat, but they do have to deal with the 7-7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the emerging Baker Mayfield. Mayfield has been on fire as of late and has led the Buccs to a three-game winning streak. With the Jaguars currently in a freefall, this is the Texans' last-best chance to leap-frog the Jaguars into first place.

Assuming that does happen, they'd be matched up with the fifth-seeded team, likely to be the Cincinnati Bengals in this scenario (as the Browns would have to take a loss to the Texans.) If the Texans hold on and the Texans get in as a wild card, then it's likely Houston will match up with either the Jaguars or the Kansas City Chiefs in the first round.

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