Despite losing three consecutive games, the Texans are still only one game out of the second wild card spot in the AFC. Even the 1-10 Cleveland Browns are techincally still alive in the 2009-10 postseason race, although no team with a losing record ever has made the NFL playoffs outside of the strike-shortened 1982 season.
Here's a look at the AFC playoff picture through 12 weeks of the 2009 season. I'll update this list every Tuesday from here on out.
Who's in: Indianapolis Colts (11-0, clinched AFC South)
Division leaders: Colts, Cincinnati Bengals (8-3, AFC North), San Diego Chargers (8-3, AFC West), New England Patriots (7-4, AFC East)
Wild Card leaders: Denver Broncos (7-4, AFC West), Jacksonville Jaguars (6-5, AFC South)
In the hunt: Baltimore Ravens (6-5, AFC North), Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5, AFC North), Miami Dolphins (5-6, AFC East), New York Jets (5-6, AFC East), Tennessee Titans (5-6, AFC South), Houston Texans (5-6, AFC South), Buffalo Bills (4-7, AFC East),
Staying alive:Kansas City Chiefs (3-8, AFC West), Oakland Raiders (3-8, AFC West), Cleveland Browns (1-10, AFC North)
Tie-breakers: If the Texans finish the season with an identical record to a division opponent, the first four tie-breakers for the Wild Card are: 1. Head-to-head, 2. Division record, 3. Common games record, 4. Conference record.
If the Texans finish the season with an identical record to a non-division AFC opponent, the first four tie-breakers for the Wild Card go like this: 1. Head-to-head (if applicable), 2. Conference record, 3. Common games record (minimum of four), 4. Strength of victory.
For a full explanation of tie-breaking procedures, click here.
Upcoming matchups:The five remaining opponents of the Texans and each team ahead of the them in the Wild Card standings:
Broncos (7-4): @ KC, @ IND, vs. OAK, @ PHI, vs. KC
Jaguars (6-5): vs. HOU, vs. MIA, vs. IND, @ NE, @ CLE
Ravens (6-5): @ GB, vs. DET, vs. CHI, @ PIT, @ OAK
Steelers (6-5): vs. OAK, @ CLE, vs. GB, vs BAL, @ MIA
Dolphins (5-6): vs. NE, @ JAC, @ TEN, vs. HOU, vs. PIT
Jets (5-6): @ BUF, @ TB, vs. ATL, @ IND, vs. CIN
Titans (5-6): @ IND, vs. STL, vs. MIA, vs. SD, @ SEA
Texans (5-6): @ JAC, vs. SEA, @ STL, @ MIA, vs. NE
Texans' next game: On the road at Jacksonville. The Texans are 3-2 on the road this season and 3-4 all-time at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium. In Week 3 of this season, the Texans lost 31-24 to the Jaguars at Reliant Stadium. Quarterback Matt Schaub had 300 yards passing and three touchdowns, but a late fourth-quarter drive stalled at the one-yard line when Texans running back Chris Brown fumbled into the end zone.
A handy reference:The full NFL standings, divided by conference, on NFL.com