The Texans will be the No. 3 seed in the AFC in their first-ever trip to the playoffs.
No matter what happens next Sunday in the final week of the regular season, the Texans will host the AFC’s No. 6 seed at Reliant Stadium on Wild Card Weekend (Jan. 7-8). If they win, they’ll play at the No. 2 seed in the Divisional round (Jan. 14-15).
The Texans’ Wild Card opponent will be either the Cincinnati Bengals (9-6), Oakland Raiders (8-7), Tennessee Titans (8-7) or New York Jets (8-7). The Bengals will clinch the sixth seed with a victory over the Ravens next Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium. A Bengals loss would open up the final spot to numerous possibilities.
The Texans no longer have a chance at a first-round bye because the New England Patriots (12-3), Baltimore Ravens (11-4) and Pittsburgh Steelers (11-4) all won on Saturday. The Patriots have clinched a bye, and the other bye will go to the Ravens or Steelers.
If the Texans, Ravens and Steelers all finish 11-5, the Steelers would be eliminated from a tiebreaker because the Ravens beat them twice and would be AFC North champions. The Ravens would win a head-to-head tiebreaker with the Texans because they beat them in Week 6.
The fourth seed will be the Denver Broncos (8-7) or Oakland Raiders (8-7), whichever team wins the AFC West. The fifth seed will be the Ravens or Steelers.
There’s an outside chance the Texans could host the AFC Championship Game at Reliant Stadium on Jan. 22. They would obviously have to win their first two games, and the winner of the 4/5 game on Wild Card Weekend would have to upset the No. 1 seed in the Divisional round.
, two No. 3 seeds have made it to the Super Bowl since 1990. The 2006 Indianapolis Colts won Super Bowl XLI. The 2003 Carolina Panthers lost Super Bowl XXXVIII. A team seeded third or lower has made it to the Super Bowl in five of the last six years and won it in four of those years.