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NFL playoff picture: What does Texans-Colts mean for AFC standings

The Texans face the Colts in Indianapolis on Saturday. We break down what the game means for the NFL playoff picture.

Shane Steichen of the Indianapolis Colts talks with DeMeco Ryans of the Houston Texans prior to an NFL football game at NRG Stadium on September 17, 2023 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Perry Knotts/Getty Images

The Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts face off on Saturday evening in Week 18 with all sorts of playoff stakes on the line. The matchup kicks off at 8:15 p.m. ET as the second half of a Saturday doubleheader.

Both teams have plenty to play for and the losing team will be sent packing. The winning team will clinch a playoff berth, but will be left to wait until Sunday to see if they’re going as the wild card team or the AFC South champ. Houston is a 1.5-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Update — The Texans defeated the Colts 23-19 to clinch a playoff berth. The Texans have a chance to win the AFC South division with a Jaguars loss on Sunday.

Texans playoff picture

The Texans are 9-7 and sit in eighth place in the AFC playoff standings. They are tied with the Colts, but sit behind them and accordingly are in third place in the AFC South. Indy won the first matchup between these two teams in Week 2. If the Texans win and the Jaguars lose to the Titans on Sunday, Houston will claim the AFC South title.

Colts playoff picture

The Colts are 9-7 and sit in seventh place in the AFC playoff standings. They hold the final wild card berth thanks to their head-to-head win over the Texans. If the Colts win and the Jaguars lose on Sunday, Indianapolis will claim the AFC South title.

Tiebreaker implications

Since these teams are tied entering the Week 18 matchup, the head-to-head tiebreaker won’t come into play unless they tie. In that case, Indy would have the edge. If there is not a tie, one team will finish a full game clear of the other.

If this game unexpectedly ends in a tie, the Bills would clinch a playoff berth. A tie and a Steelers win gets Pittsburgh a playoff berth.