The Houston Texans and the Denver Broncos are about to face off in a battle of 6-5 teams. The two squads are both vying for a playoff birth and are currently 8th and 9th in the standings, just behind the Indianapolis Colts, who are the seventh and final seed in the playoffs; if the season were to end today. The two teams can't afford to lose ground anymore and it's likely that whoever loses this game is out of the wild card playoff running.
The winner of this game will likely take control of their destiny, with the Broncos needing a bit of help going forward. If they win, they likely will be the seventh seed, depending on what happens with the Cleveland Browns, who they just recently defeated. The Browns are about to spiral due to a lack of a quarterback and with Joe Flacco likely to get the start this week, it's clear they're desperate.
The Broncos would then have control of their future, with them just needing to keep compiling wins and then watching the playoffs manifest around them. The same is true for the Texans, where if they win, they'll not only have solid control over the bottom part of the playoffs but with the Browns and Colts on their schedule, will be able to widen the gap and likely gain ground.
They may even have a shot at the AFC South, but they'd need help there.
If the Texans lose, they won't be dead in the water just yet. They would still have the two games against the Browns and Colts that would help them get back into the running but a loss won't help their case. They would need some help, as well as defeating the Browns and Colts to maintain pace for the playoffs.
And that doesn't factor in the New York Jets, who are still alive, and have a returning Aaron Rodgers to look forward to. The Texans need to get the win over the Broncos to help ensure they don't fall behind and get swallowed up by a lot of decent teams playing and beating one another.