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NFL playoff picture: Who to root for in Week 17 if you are a Houston Texans fan

Week 17 is here and the Houston Texans are in the NFC South and wild card picture. Who should Texans fans root for to help their chances?

Head Coach DeMeco Ryans of the Houston Texans reacts against the Cleveland Browns during the third quarter at NRG Stadium on December 24, 2023 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Houston Texans have alternated losses and wins the past five weeks, but somehow still find themselves firmly in the playoff mix. They’re tied with the Colts for the final wild card berth, but more importantly, those two are also tied with the Jaguars for first place in the AFC South.

The Texans are trailing in tiebreakers against both teams, but have some opportunities ahead of them. If Houston wins out, they would likely claim at least the No. 7 seed thanks to their season finale against the Colts. But they’ll need help to win the division and could use some help otherwise to lighten their load, so here’s the games Texans fans should pay attention to in Week 17 as the Texans look to improve their playoff chances.

Result: Houston blasted Tennessee with a 26-3 victory and is still alive in the AFC South hunt. The Texans need a win over the Colts and a Jaguars loss to the Titans in Week 18 to clinch the division.

Panthers vs. Jaguars
Raiders vs. Colts

The Jaguars and Colts both sit ahead of the Texans thanks to tiebreakers. Jacksonville has the division record tiebreaker while Indianapolis has the head-to-head tiebreaker for now. The Texans get a shot at the Colts in Week 18, but they’ll take losses by both the Colts and Jaguars this week.

Result: Indianapolis edged Las Vegas in a 23-20 victory. Similar to the Texans, the Colts need a win and a Jaguars loss next Sunday to claim the division title. Meanwhile, Jacksonville shut out Carolina in a 26-0 rout even with Trevor Lawrence sidelined. The Jags own the tiebreaker over both the Colts and Texans and just needs to win next week to clinch the division.

Patriots vs. Bills

The Bills have a one-game lead on the Texans. If Buffalo loses and Houston wins, the Texans will gain the conference record tiebreaker edge.

Result: Buffalo defeated New England 27-21. The Bills currently occupy one of the AFC Wild Card spots and will play for the AFC East title against the Dolphins next Sunday

Steelers vs. Seahawks
Bengals vs. Chiefs

Result: The Steelers and Chiefs both won.

The Steelers and Bengals are both tied with the Texans in the wild card standings, but are behind them due to tiebreakers. The Steelers edge the Bengals based on the head-to-head divisional tiebreaker, and then the Texans edge the Steelers based on head-to-head as well. It’s worth noting Houston beat Cincinnati.

All that being said, getting rid of more teams tied with them will remove a little stress.