Despite losing quarterbacks Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart during the season, the Houston Texans have still played well enough to clinch the AFC South division title as of Week 14. The woeful Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars were eliminated for good weeks ago, but the Tennessee Titans are actually still alive in the playoff race.
The Texans are hoping to earn a first round bye in the playoffs, but need the Steelers or Patriots to falter to make it happen. If the Texans tie the Steelers in overall record, they hold a head-to-head tie breaker that would give them the edge in seeding, so a top-two seed is very much a possibility. Unfortunately for Texans fans, the team does not control their own destiny.
The Tennesse Titans need help from the Bengals and Jets if they want a shot at the playoffs, as they are currently a game behind each team in the standings. If the Jets and Bengals falter in the final two weeks, the Titans are next in line for the wildcard by virtue of having a better record against common opponents (3-1 vs. 3-2) than the Oakland Raiders. The Jets (vs. NYG, at MIA) and the Bengals (vs. ARI, vs. BAL) each have a tougher remaining schedule than the Titans (vs. JAX, at HOU), so Tennessee shouldn't be ruled out of the running just yet.
|AFC Playoff Picture|
|1||* New England||11||3||3-1||8-2|
Outside Looking In
If there is a tie between two teams for a Wildcard berth, here is the tie-breaker procedure (via NFL.com):
- Head-to-head, if applicable.
- Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
- Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four.
- Strength of victory.
- Strength of schedule.
If there is a tie between three or more teams for a Wildcard spot, it is the same process as above except head-to-head and division record are used to eliminate teams within the same division before moving on to the listed tie-breakers.
For more on the 2011 NFL playoffs, visit the SB Nation NFL Playoff Race Stream.