The Houston Texans control their own destiny heading into their final home game of the regular season, and that means they'll need H-Town's homefield advantage from kickoff until the final whistle on New Year's Eve.
Five teams in the AFC are locked together at 8-7 going into the Week 17 slate of games, but if Houston wins out, they are assured of a spot in the AFC playoffs.
That certainty comes from the remainder of the Texans schedule, which includes a Week 18 game against the Indianapolis Colts. If Houston wins this Sunday against the Tennessee Titans and knocks off the Colts next weekend, they own the head-to-head tiebreakers if the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals also finish 10-7.
At 8-7, the Jacksonville Jaguars still control their destiny when it comes to the AFC South division. If the Jags win out by beating the Panthers and Titans, they would take the division crown. However, a slip up and a pair of Texans wins could change that calculus in a hurry.
In summary, this weekend's game against the Titans is huge for the Texans. If they win, the Week 18 showdown against the Colts becomes a win-and-get-in for the 2023 playoffs.
But as QB C.J. Stroud said on Thursday about his team: "We're at where we're at for a reason." Now Stroud and the rest of the squad have a playoff berth within reach and they'll be excited to put everything on the line in front of a buzzing Houston crowd on Sunday.