The Houston Texans are headed to the postseason for the second straight year and just the second time in franchise history, yet stumble into the playoffs after going 1-3 to end the year.
Houston spent most of the season as clear leaders in the AFC and likely Super Bowl favorites thanks to a dominating defense and high-scoring offense. Cracks began to show in November, however, when the Texans needed overtime to beat Jacksonville and Detroit in a slide that culminated with a 42-14 loss to New England on national television.
Since then, says Tim of the Battle Red Blog, the Texans have struggled in embarrassing fashion:
The Houston Texans managed to go from 11-1 to 12-4. Depending on how the Broncos and Patriots do in games they should win, the Texans have in all likelihood blown both the homefield advantage and a first-round bye. They have looked completely unprepared, totally listless, and generally awful for the better part of a month (at least). They have managed to destroy any optimism their fan base once had, and they've surely murdered any momentum they could have had entering the postseason.
Thanks to losing three games in the final month, the Texans will have to face the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Wild Card game. Houston beat Cincinnati in the wild card game in 2012, before losing to Baltimore in the divisional round.
Kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, Jan. 5 with coverage on NBC.