Houston has four potential seeds pending Sunday's result

Ranking the Texans playoff scenarios

Zach Tarrant/Houstontexans.com

The Houston Texans enter Sunday's game with the Jacksonville Jaguars with a chance to improve on what is already Bill O'Brien's best season as the head man of the Texans. They have double-digit regular season wins for the first time under O'Brien and a chance at a home playoff game is still very much alive. Unfortunately for the Texans, so is going on the road as a wildcard team.

Here are the Texans playoff scenarios ranked from least likely to most likely

Top seed in the AFC by virtue of Texans win + Chiefs loss + Chargers loss + Patriots loss/tie

This actually has a decent chance to happen, but is pretty unlikely. The Texans can absolutely, and should, beat the Jaguars on Sunday but to end up as the top team in their conference they will need lots of help. Kansas City hosts the Raiders on Sunday and while Jon Gruden's crew has played a bit better lately, they don't seem to be a match for a Chiefs team that could wrap up the top seed in the conference. The other must for this scenario is New England losing to the Jets at home. New York's Sam Darnold has played great the past few weeks but that hasn't resulted in wins, just good stat lines and hope. A week to rest and then hosting a game would do wonders for the Texans in a potential Super Bowl push. It would seem most likely they would host the Chiefs or Chargers in the divisional round who would have a decent chance to beat the Ravens despite playing them in Baltimore.

Second seed in the AFC by virtue of Texans win + Patriots loss/tie

This is where the losses to the Titans, Giants, and Eagles really hurt. If any of those games had gone the other way the Texans are in the driver's seat for the first playoff bye in franchise history. As mentioned above the Texans need the Jets to beat the Patriots or tie them. That's a tall task for a bad Jets team despite Darnold's stellar play as of late. It would seem most likely they would host the Patriots after the bye who would beat up on the Titans/Colts winner.

Sixth seed in the AFC by virtue of Texans loss + Titans/Colts win

This is the nightmare scenario for the Texans. If they lose then have to wait close to eight hours to find out where they are headed the following week would absolutely stink. They would have a decent chance to beat both Tennessee and Indianapolis on the road but it would be one of the bigger disappointments in franchise history. This isn't as unlikely as the above two but it seems unlikely the Texans drop a game at home to the Jaguars when they have so much to play for in the final week of the regular season. Also, if the Texans lose it is likely a physical affair with Jacksonville and they're already relly banged up. They would then likely play the early game on Saturday as well. Absolutely terrifying to think Houston loses and is the sixth seed.

Third seed in the AFC by virtue of Texans win + Patriots win or Texans tie + Patriots tie

Hosting during wild card weekend is absolutely the most likely scenario for the Texans. This would be hosting the Colts or Titans and then likely heading to New England to face the Patriots. It is a fun road in this scenario to hosting the AFC championship should the Texans win two games and see the Chargers as the five seed win two games. I am a bit ahead of myself as Houston has to beat Jacksonville but they should do it with the three seed hanging in the air. It is Blake Bortles standing between the Texans and their fifth home playoff game in franchise history. They would host the winner of the Titans and Colts game, likely Indinapolis.

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Thurs, Sept. 24 - HOU: Cristian Javier (4-2, 3.33) vs. TEX: Lance Lynn (6-2, 2.53)

Fri, Sept. 25 - HOU: Jose Urquidy (1-1, 2.78) vs. TEX: Kyle Cody (1-1, 1.53)

Sat, Sept. 26 - HOU: TBD vs. TEX: Kyle Gibson (2-6, 5.87)

Sun, Sept. 27 - HOU: TBD vs. TEX: Jordan Lyles (1-5, 7.07)


Season finale - The Astros will wrap up their regular season with their four game set in Arlington at the new Globe Life Field. Houston's magic number rests at two, as the Angels still have a puncher's chance. With Houston's miserable 8-20 road record, the postseason is anything but clinched.

Where's the offense? - The Astros offense has left a lot to be desired over the last few weeks, scoring more than three runs just twice in their last ten games. The bats really need to get going, especially if the team expects to do anything in the playoffs. George Springer has been the only reliable bat of late, with the performances of Carlos Correa, Yuli Gurriel, Alex Bregman, and, most of all, Jose Altuve, leaving a lot to be desired.

Playoff seeding - If the playoffs started today, the Astros would face off with their division rivals in Oakland. There's an infinite number of possibilities over the next four games, but the Astros can see themselves finish anywhere from the fifth seed to out of the playoffs entirely. Any of Tampa Bay, Minnesota, Oakland, Chicago, New York, and Cleveland could be first round foes depending on how the cards fall.


Lance Lynn has been one of the better pitchers in the game for a few years now, Kyle Cody is an intriguing young arm with good stuff, and Jordan Lyles and Kyle Gibson gave the Astros fits in Houston just last week. It isn't a recipe for success for Houston. The Astros win 1 of 4, which combined with the Angels and Mariners failing to take care of business, is enough to get Houston into the playoffs.

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