THE PLAYOFF PICTURE

What has to happen for the Texans to get a top 2 seed in the AFC

Deshaun Watson and the Texans need to win out and hope for help. Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Four games remain this season and the Texans are on a nine game winning streak. They currently hold the third spot in the AFC and can lock up the division with a win at home against the Colts on Sunday and a Titans loss to the Jaguars. While those are both plausible scenarios nothing is guaranteed. Even if it doesn’t happen this weekend, it’s highly likely that they win the division in the end. But if they really want make this the most improbable season, they can earn the top overall seed by winning all four remaining games. Which is also a plausible scenario.

Houston’s remaining games are the Colts, at the Jets, at the Eagles, and at home in Week 17 against the Jaguars. The Colts just got blanked against the Jacksonville and you better believe Bill O’Brien is watching that film closely to see how he can limit Andrew Luck and his potent passing attack. The Jets are still the Jets, but the Eagles might be the biggest challenge. The Super Bowl Champions are not what they were last year, but they still have a chance to sneak into the playoffs and a home game against the Texans is a game they will get up for. The Jaguars defense may have awoken this past weekend but offensively they don’t have much; they managed only six points in their shutout of the Colts.

The Texans defense has been making big, timely plays and will have to continue that trend. They will also need to keep the running game going. Controlling the clock and wearing down opposing defenses is a sure fire way to win out. All of their remaining opponents are at .500 or below, giving the Texans plenty of film to showcase weaknesses. So far, Bill O’Brien has game planned and coached well enough to exploit their last nine opponents. Four more would surely earn him coach of the year.

They still need some help to get to the top. The Patriots currently sit in the second spot with a matching record and already hold a head to head victory over Houston. They will need to lose a game for the Texans to leap-frog them. Their schedule is a little light with games against all three of their divisional opponents remaining. If you know anything about the AFC East, the Patriots have dominated all of them in the Brady/Belichick era.

The best chance Houston has is New England’s Week 15 road game in Pittsburgh. The Steelers are barely holding on to the lead in the AFC North and will need every win they can get to hold off Baltimore. A Patriots loss would help Houston’s case for at least a playoff bye week.

They also need the top seeded Chiefs to lose a divisional game or earn two losses in the final four games. They have the toughest remaining schedule between these three teams. They are at home against the Ravens this week and the Chargers the next. Baltimore is on a three game winning streak and has a solid defense so a win is no guarantee. The Chargers are only one game behind them in the AFC West and a win would make sure they have a shot to win the division at the end of the season. They finish their tough three-game stretch on the road against the Seahawks, who are fighting for the last Wild Card spot. Seattle is one of the toughest places to win on the road and Russell Wilson is showing why he’s a high caliber quarterback. They finish the season at home against a Raiders team whose only motivation might be to lose and secure the first overall pick in the draft. I’ll mark that a win for Kansas City.

The Chiefs were able to win their first game without running back Kareem Hunt, but that was against the aforementioned Raiders. It will be different when they roll into the next three games with only back-ups leading the ground game. Houston’s best chance comes once again in Week 15 when the Chargers come to Arrowhead. If Phillip Rivers can lead his team to victory the top seed will be visible from NRG Stadium.

The Texans can secure home field advantage throughout the playoffs by winning their last four games and getting help from the Patriots and Chiefs. One loss is needed by the Patriots and the Chiefs need to lose a divisional game or two games overall. Week 15 will be crucial, as the Chargers visit the Chiefs Thursday night and the Patriots go to Heinz Field in Pittsburgh Sunday afternoon. The Texans play on Saturday that week so fans in Houston can watch each game closely and will the Chargers, Texans, and Steelers to victory.


 

Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The Houston Texans are now 9-4. They're also still in control of their own destiny as far as the AFC South is concerned. Yet, people are acting like things have gone down the shitter. There are three games left in the season! They still have a shot at the number two seed in the AFC! WHY THE HELL ARE FANS PANICKING?!?

I get it. Fans aren't happy with the 24-21 loss to hated division rival Colts. They aren't happy the nine game win streak is over. And they have every right to be pissed the team blew a chance at the number two seed in the AFC given that the Patriots wet the bed against the Dolphins.

But what are fans going to do about it? Cry? Sulk? Raise holy hell on Twitter? Facebook? Instagram? Snap Crap (John Granato voice)? No dammit! Pull yourselves up by your boot straps! Wipe the sissy tears from your eyes and remember that you've been through worse!

This is the same/similar fan base that has gone through the six years of purgatory without a team to call their own due to Bud Adams' greed. Remember, you had to sit back and watch as that team left town, relocated in Nashville, kept your team history, records, colors, eventually changed names, and watched that crotchety old man make a mockery of the whole situation, especially when they made it to Super Bowl.

You're better than this Houston! Remember when Tracy Mc Grady scored 13 points in 33 seconds against the hated Spurs? Remember when Hakeem Olajuwon led the Rockets to back to back title runs when Michael Jordan was retired? (Yeah Houston. I went there and said it like that. Sue me!) Remember when the Astros lost 100 plus games every season and missing the playoffs? Remember when the Rockets couldn't make the playoffs and were mired in mediocrity? Remember when the Dynamo were a flash in the pan and went back to relative anonymity?

This Texans team may have its flaws, but it's not without its lovable spots. Sure, Bill O'Brien may be an A hole of a coach and Deshaun Watson may be a brain fart away from losing a close game for this team, but there's more to be happy about.

When things looked bleak at 0-3, the Texans went on a nine game win streak that put them firmly in control of the division and a playoff berth. They take one loss and now some of you so-called "fans" are in full-blown panic mode! CALM DOWN! Remember what you've been through and the resiliency you've built up over the years!

You've endured the Bills debacle, no team for six years, David Carr, and Matt Schaub! This is like telling people without kids to become parent of the year nominees. You are totally forgetting who you are, what you have been through, and how tough it can be being a Texan fan. I find it funny that the same fans that say this is their team are the same ones that go into full-blown panic mode at the first hint of trouble. Relax guys. After all, you could be a Browns fan.

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