Posted December 03, 2013

How Houston Texans can make playoffs

AFC South, Houston Texans
The Texans have not won since early September, but they're still alive in the playoff race.

The Texans have not won since early September, but they’re still alive in the playoff race. (Eric May/AP)

No, that’s not a joke headline. Despite being 2-10 with 10 consecutive losses, the Texans have yet to be eliminated from the AFC’s playoff chase. (Which also means, as you might have figured out, that every AFC team still has at least a long-shot chance at postseason play).

But since the Texas have the most remote odds — and since only one sub-.500 team (2011 Seattle) has ever qualified for the NFL playoffs — it only felt right to investigate their road to glory, with a little help from ESPN.com’s Playoff Machine.

Here’s what has to happen for the Texans to claim a wild-card spot …

Houston must win out: The obvious. A 4-0 finish would leave the Texans at 6-10 overall, the bare minimum record they’d need to reach the playoffs. They close at Jacksonville, at Indianapolis, vs. Denver and at Tennessee.

Baltimore and Miami must lose out: Essentially, what the Texans would be hoping for in this far-fetched scenario is a complete jumble of teams at 6-10, with Houston claiming the tiebreaker. Either the Ravens or Dolphins could eliminate Houston simply by winning one of their final four games.

Tennessee, Pittsburgh, San Diego and New York must finish 1-3 or worse: This is still possible with the schedules in front of these teams. Again, if any other team joins Denver, New England, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Kansas City with seven-plus victories, Houston would have no shot.

Oakland, Cleveland and Buffalo must finish 2-2 or worse: This trio of teams sits with matching 4-8 records at the moment.

The Texans’ ridiculous hope for the playoffs: to have at least seven AFC teams finish tied at 6-10 — themselves, plus the Steelers, Ravens, Dolphins, Browns, Jets, Chargers and the winner of a Week 15 game between the Bills and Jaguars. Oakland, Tennessee and the loser of that Buffalo-Jacksonville game could finish 6-10 or 5-11 without propping up another wild-card contender’s record.

Should that happen, the Texans’ could secure the AFC’s second wild-card spot via a tremendously convoluted set of tiebreakers.

To keep their dream alive for another week, Houston needs to beat Jacksonville on Thursday night, then have these results occur on Sunday: Minnesota over Baltimore, New England over Cleveland, Oakland over the Jets, the Giants over San Diego and Pittsburgh over Miami.

So, the only question left: Do you believe in miracles?

34 comments
JahliSuwaghaman
JahliSuwaghaman

THE HOUSTON TEXANS HAVE BEEN ELIMINATED FROM PLAYOFF CONTENTION BY THE JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS.



Now that's a statement I didn't see anyone typing this year!

Ranerdar
Ranerdar

Jets, Miami, San Diego, Cleveland, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Houston and Tennesee all finish 6-10. Oakland and Jacksonville finish 5-11.

Ranerdar
Ranerdar

Wins tie break over Cleveland, NY Jets and San Diego based on best win percentage in conference games. Division tie break was initially used to eliminate Miami (NY Jets wins tie break over Miami based on best win percentage in division games). Division tie break was initially used to eliminate Pittsburgh (Cleveland wins tie break over Baltimore based on best win percentage in common games wins tie break over Pittsburgh based on best win percentage in division games). Division tie break was initially used to eliminate Baltimore (Cleveland wins tie break over Baltimore based on best win percentage in common games wins tie break over Pittsburgh based on best win percentage in division games). Division tie break was initially used to eliminate Tennessee (Houston wins tie break over Tennessee based on head-to-head win percentage).

Murl
Murl

Someone has too much time on their hands. (Chris Burke)

spumbc2
spumbc2

Ravens beat the Texans earlier in the year so even if ravens lose out, won't they hold the tie-breaker?

DanielPendry
DanielPendry

Is there any doubt the NFC is the best league this season?  There's no reason why the team with the worst record of anyone should still mathematically be in the playoff race at this point.

bartleby'sdog
bartleby'sdog

Wow. Wouldn't it be great to see the Texans and Jags in the Superbowl?

 Perhaps this is the only thing that would bring the price of an NFL game ticket back to earth.

GoHorns
GoHorns

I believe in Miracles... I don't believe in Gary Dumbiak...

HorizontalGophers
HorizontalGophers

Like Lloyd said in Dumb and Dumber "So you're telling me there's a chance!" 

WR2

hyphenite
hyphenite

Some of you folks take this stuff way too seriously.  It's a joke, laugh.

Frotoon
Frotoon

And in similar news, the Denver Broncos might not make the playoffs.

SC1
SC1

and not only do pigs fly ... they defecate on others too !!!

Phllip
Phllip

why would we care or want to see a  2-10 team make the playoffs? They're 2-10 for a reason

ianforbes
ianforbes

There's also a chance that I'll marry Zoe Saldana and win the lottery - but I didn't choose to write an article about it.

JahliSuwaghaman
JahliSuwaghaman

I'd like to see how ridiculously long the list of "this must happen" is typed out with every game result.

parkbrav
parkbrav

This is a great article. I had a great laugh

Jonathan T
Jonathan T

Oddly enough this actually seems possible with the lone exception of Houston needing to win out....lol

RobLambeth
RobLambeth

Loser fans with bags on their heads. Disrespecting a team they claim to love, and stealing a weak schtick from the Saints who disrespected their team long ago.

JesseRoberts
JesseRoberts

except the ravens beat the texans head to head.

Murl
Murl

@spumbc2 when you get into multiple team tiebreakers, head to head doesn't actually factor in, or so I've read somewhere.

bartleby'sdog
bartleby'sdog

That's right- an all-AFC championship because if those two make it to the big game, anything is possible

joe6647
joe6647

@Frotoon lolololol.  That article could have basically been written too in place of this one

ChrisBurke_SI1
ChrisBurke_SI1

@JesseRoberts Which is why they need more than just a two-way tie. The tiebreakers are different when there are more than two teams in question. 

Maulbert
Maulbert

@JesseRoberts @ChrisBurke_SI1  Division ties are broken first. If Cleveland and/or Pittsburgh tie the Ravens while possessing the tiebreaker, the Ravens would be eliminated before determining a tiebreaker with Houston. The Houston would only need the tiebreaker over Cleveland/Pittsburgh.