Thanks to their 27-20 victory over the Miami Dolphins and a slew of favorable results from around the league, the Texans are alive in the AFC Wild Card race heading into their season finale against the New England Patriots.
The Jaguars and Titans dropped to 7-8 --- and behind the Texans --- by losing in Week 16. The Ravens and Broncos gave the Texans a chance to catch them in the Wild Card standings by losing and falling to 8-7.
The only non-favorable result was the Jets' 29-15 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Indy coach Jim Caldwell, whose team had already wrapped up the AFC's No. 1 seed, decided to pull his starters with a 15-10 lead in the third quarter. That helped the Jets, who own head-to-head and conference record tiebreakers over the Texans, move their record to 8-7.
If the season ended today, the Broncos and Jets would be in the playoffs as the AFC's Wild Card teams. For the Texans to make the postseason for the first time ever, they'll need a couple of things to happen.
First, the Texans need to beat the Patriots at Reliant Stadium on Jan. 3. The Patriots clinched the AFC East on Sunday, but they're still competing for the No. 3 seed with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Second, the Texans must hope for two teams to lose among the Ravens (who play at the 5-10 Oakland Raiders), the Broncos (who are at home against the 3-12 Kansas City Chiefs) and the Jets (who host the 10-5 Cincinnnati Bengals, the AFC North champs).