When the Texans defeated Miami 27-20, they increased their record to 8-7 and kept alive their slim playoff hopes. They're one of five 8-7 teams.
The Texans have to beat New England at Reliant Stadium to maintain their playoff pulse. If they defeat the Patriots, the win and one of these combinations would result in a wild-card berth:
--Jets loss or tie and Ravens loss or tie.
--Jets loss or tie and Broncos loss or tie.
--Ravens loss or tie and Broncos loss or tie.
The Texans and their fans know the math says it's a long shot.
If the Ravens and Jets win, they're in as the two AFC wildcard teams. The Ravens play at Oakland. The Jets host Cincinnati on Sunday night. The Broncos host Kansas City.
The odds are that if the Texans defeat the Patriots, they'll have to be satisfied with finishing the season with a four-game winning streak and their first winning record.
There's a good possibility that the Jets could get two tainted victories and make the playoffs. If the Bengals rest their starters, the Jets should coast as they did when the Colts pulled their starters in the second half of Sunday's game.
"All we know is that we have to win a game against one of the best teams in the league, and that's what we're focused on," coach Gary Kubiak said about the Patriots. "As far as the Colts, obviously, I would love to have seen them win that game, but for us, it really doesn't matter. We've got to worry about taking care of our business. Indianapolis is a great team and they had a tremendous season. They've got to do what they think they've got to do."