Updated AFC Playoff picture after Texans eliminate Colts in Week 18 leading into Sunday

Houston Texans v Indianapolis Colts
Houston Texans v Indianapolis Colts / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

When you think of the NFL Playoff picture going into Week 18 of the regular season, you think about what teams need to get into the postseason. Oftentimes, it looks like a team needs to win and then needs a specific number of other outcomes to sneak into the playoffs. It feels rare that we get a true win-and-in scenario, but that's what the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts gave us on Saturday night.

After the Pittsburgh Steelers outlasted the top-seeded Baltimore Ravens on Saturday afternoon to keep their hopes alive in the AFC Playoff picture, the two AFC South rivals took the field in Indianapolis with a playoff berth, but only one, in the balance (and a chance to still win the division). In the end, it was the Texans, though just barely, who earned that spot.

Houston scored on a Devin Singletary run to take a one-touchdown lead midway through the fourth quarter, but it felt like disaster lurking when Ka'imi Fairbairn missed his first extra-point of the season to make it just 23-17. The Texans defense defined bend-don't-break on the Colts final possession, though, to pick up the win.

So let's take a look at how the AFC Playoff picture has shaken out heading into Sunday in Week 18.

AFC Playoff Picture after Texans eliminate Colts leading into Sunday Week 18

1. Baltimore Ravens (13-4)
2. Miami Dolphins (11-5)
3. Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)
4. Houston Texans (10-7)
5. Cleveland Browns (11-5)
6. Buffalo Bills (10-6)
7. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-7)
In the Hunt: 8. Jacksonville Jaguars (9-7) | Eliminated in Week 18: 9. Indianapolis Colts (9-8)

Billed properly, the late-night affair between the Texans and Colts was a win-and-in game for both teams. Thus, with Houston getting the victory on Saturday night, the Texans clinch a playoff berth. Moreover, with a Jaguars loss against the Titans on Sunday, Houston could still earn the AFC South title, giving them home-field in the wild card round as the No. 4 seed in the AFC.

One underrated aspect of this game is that, not shockingly, it did not end in a tie. Subsequently, the Pittsburgh Steelers now need one of the Jaguars (vs. Titans) and Bills (vs. Dolphins) to lose on Sunday in Week 18 in order for Mike Tomlin's club to get back into the playoffs. As such, a Jaguars loss against a Ryan Tannehill led Tennessee would be mutually beneficial to the Texans and Steelers.

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