A week ago, I did a breakdown of some hypothetical playoff scenarios prior to the Week 13 slate of games, examining what it would take for the Texans to make the postseason. With Week 13 in the books, here's an updated look at what would be an improbable - but possible - path to the postseason for the Texans after a 3-7 start.
With four games left to play, the Texans (5-7) trail the wild-card leading Colts and Ravens (both 8-4) by three games. Since Houston lost head-to-head to both teams, they'll need to finish a game better than one of them (and finish ahead of the three AFC East teams who currently have a better record) to earn a spot in the playoffs.
In other words, either Baltimore or Indy must lose each of its last four games to finish 8-8. The Texans have to win out and finish 9-7 and hope for some help from said AFC East teams. It's a longshot, yes. But hey, it could happen. Every time the Ravens or Colts lose and the Texans win, Houston will stay alive for one more week.
Houston:at Green Bay (5-7), vs. Tennessee (11-1), at Oakland (3-9), vs. Chicago (6-6)
Indianapolis: vs. Cincinnati (1-10-1), at Detroit (0-12), at Jacksonville (4-8), vs. Tennessee
Baltimore:vs. Washington (7-5), vs. Pittsburgh (9-3), at Dallas (8-4), vs. Jacksonville
The Ravens look like a far more likely candidate than Indy to drop their last four. But that's still mighty wishful thinking about a team that has won six of its last seven behind a menacing defense and a steadily improving quarterback in rookie Joe Flacco.
It really would have helped the Texans if the Browns had wound up on the other side of their 10-6 loss at home to Indy on Sunday (or if the Texans had beaten Indy in either of their two close losses to the Colts this season). But all the Texans can do now is play their best against Green Bay and hope for some help along the way.
AFC Wild Card Standings