The Houston Texans are back in the playoffs for the third time in four years after a successful campaign that saw them capture their second consecutive AFC South Crown.
The Texans will host the AFC East runner-up Buffalo Bills in their Wild Card matchup next weekend. The dates for the playoff matchups are yet to be determined.
Houston knew its fate before Sunday’s matchup with the Titans thanks to Kansas City defeated the Chargers, securing a first-round bye with the win.
The Texans and Bills faced off last season in an ugly offensive game that Houston pulled out 20-13. Bills quarterback Josh Allen sprained his elbow in that game, missing four contests because of it.
Bills, Texans Lose Meaningless Regular-Season Finales
Buffalo lost its regular-season finale against the Jets 13-6, but most of the Bills key starters sat.
Allen is excited to lead his BIlls teams into the season after the franchise recorded double-digit wins for the first time since 1999. The Bills finished with their best point differential (plus-62) since 2002.
“It’s officially win or go home, that’s what playoff football is all about. Our team is resilient and we know we’re going to leave everything we have on the field during the postseason.”
The Texans did the same routine in resting their starters, with AJ McCarron starting at QB for Deshaun Watson against Tennessee. Star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins also sat, as did running back Carlos Hyde in the 35-14 loss to the Titans.
J.J. Watt Expected Back for Playoff Game for Texans
The Texans are expected to get a big piece back for the postseason in defensive end J.J. Watt. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year tore his pectoral muscle on Oct. 27 in a win against the Raiders.
“I feel really good,” Watt told reporters this week. “We’ve worked extremely hard at rehab. We’ve had a very smooth process and everything’s been going extremely well. So I’m really, really excited to back in the field with everybody and to get back out there helping my team and playing for this city.”
His teammates have embraced having him back at practice.
“I mean, it’s dope but it doesn’t catch me by surprise because that’s the type of person he is, to do whatever he can to help this football team and get back out there with his brothers,” Watson told reporters on Dec. 26. “I know at the early (part) of the rehab and surgery, it was definitely a thought that he probably wouldn’t be able to play the rest of this year, but I guarantee whenever he had his surgery and the doctors told him he had a chance and gave him a timeline, if he did everything right, that he was going to do that.”
Watt consistently been on a rehab schedule, with major injuries to his leg and back injuries. He said this was easier to come back from.
“(Those were) two massive massive things that really affect movement,” he said. “But the nice thing about this surgery was this whole time I’ve been able to run, I’ve been able to work out my legs, do agility drills, position drills. So that has been a huge help both mentally and physically for this recovery.”