The Houston Texans didn't catch the break they needed this week, as both the Indianapolis Colts and the Jacksonville Jaguars both won their respective encounters against the Las Vegas Raiders and the Carolina Panthers respectively. The Texans, Colts, and Jaguars are now all 9-7 after 16 weeks, with Week 18 being the pivotal matchup for all three teams.
The Jaguars hold the lead in the division via tie-breakers, but a loss by the Jaguars in Week 18 and a win by the Texans over the Colts would see the Texans take the AFC South. A win by the Texans over the Colts but a win by the Jaguars would see the Colts take the last playoff spot in the wild card section.
The Texans have to win next week, however, a loss or a tie would eliminate them from the postseason, and the Jaguars and the Colts would then move. Likewise, the Colts can win the AFC South as well, just as long as they beat the Texans and the Jaguars lose in Week 18. A loss by the Jaguars could see them fall out of the playoff race altogether, depending on what teams like the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers do in the meantime.
Unfortunately for the Colts and Texans, the Jaguars have the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, a team that hasn't been very good all year long and a team that isn't going to be picked by many to win against the Jaguars. Not at this point in the season.
The only saving grace for those who still long for the AFC South title is that Trevor Lawerence missed this week, and could very easily miss next week as well, it just all depends on how his shoulder is doing. The Jaguars wouldn't risk his long-term health, so it's possible the Titans do pull the upset off over the Jags next week.
And if they do, then the winner of the Colts and the Texans gets the AFC South title.