Thanks to their 16-10 win over the Indianapolis Colts last weekend, the Houston Texans are now in sole possession of first place in the AFC South with just two weeks remaining in the season, leaving the Colts clinging to a very small sliver of hope at still making the postseason.
In order for the Colts to win the division, they will need to win their last two games and have the Texans lose their last two. The only other scenario is for the Colts to win their last two and have the Texans go 1-1 during that span and then have the Colts win the strength of victory tiebreaker. In other words, it's unlikely.
In fact, the Texans can clinch the division today with some very realistic scenarios. If the Texans beat the Tennessee Titans today and the Colts either lose to or tie with the Miami Dolphins, the Texans clinch the division. If the Texans tie the Titans and the Colts lose to the Dolphins, then Houston wins the division. Lastly, if the Texans win and then clinch the strength of victory tiebreaker, Houston wins the division.
Here's how that last scenario is possible. If the Colts and Texans both finish with the same record, they would also be tied on the first four tiebreakers (head-to-head, winning percentage against division opponents, winning percentage in common games, and winning percentage conference games). It would therefore come down to the fifth tiebreaker, which is strength of victory - basically, which team has the stronger wins based on the records of those teams. The Texans can clinch the strength of victory tiebreaker on Sunday if one of the following two scenarios plays out:
- The Bengals beat the Broncos and then either the Saints beat the Jaguars, the Jets beat the Patriots, or the Panthers beat the Falcons
- The Saints, Jets, and Panthers all win
Those are the scenarios on how the Texans could win the AFC South. As you will notice, the easiest way for that to happen is for the Texans to win and for the Colts to lose. If the Colts lose, they are essentially done. So they will need to take care of their own business first and foremost and then hope for the Texans to lose. It's very unlikely that the Colts will make the playoffs, but they're not officially eliminated yet. That could change before the day is over, though, as the Texans have clinching scenarios for the AFC South this week.