The Houston Texans qualified for the AFC playoffs in dramatic fashion on Saturday. They needed the Cincinnati Bengals to miss a field goal and the Bengals did just that, thereby allowing Houston to claim a 12-10 victory. The result guaranteed Houston the AFC South and subsequent results guaranteed them no better than the four seed in the AFC playoffs. In Week 17, Houston now have a throwaway game at Tennessee that can't change anything for either team.

Houston fans want to play Oakland

But that doesn't mean that the other games still don't hold some intrigue for the Houston Texans and their fans.

One major development in the AFC in Week 16 had to do with the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders lost Derek Carr to a broken fibula and that makes them a high-seeded team that no one will be too scared to play. In fact, among the teams in the AFC playoffs the Oakland Raiders might be the opponent of choice.

If you are a fan of the Houston Texans then you are mindful of where the Oakland Raiders end up in the standings. Currently, Oakland are the second seed, but I think Houston would prefer than they fall down to a five seed. That would require that KC move up to second seed, something that could happen with a couple of results next week. If Oakland fall to 5th, then Houston host the Carr-less Raiders in Wild Card Weekend.

That would probably improve Houston's chances dramatically when it comes to getting through to the divisional round.

The divisional round is reseeded, meaning that Houston could play the No. 1 or the No. 2 seed should the Texans make the conference semifinals. That's an interesting fact for the Texans, because it's possible that Houston would play the Raiders in the divisional round even if Oakland received a first-round bye.

If, for example, Houston hosted Miami or KC in the Wild Card round and then faced the Raiders in the divisional round, imagine the opportunity that it would present to the franchise. They would be on the road against Oakland at that point, however Houston would have a game against a back-up quarterback to make the conference final.

How things will play out in the weeks ahead isn't clear. However, if things go right next week then Houston might end up playing Oakland in Wild Card Weekend. That would make the Texans favorites for two reasons: hosting and because of the Carr injury. Even if Houston don't play Oakland at that point, there's a path to the Super Bowl that sees them win at home on Wild Card Weekend, maybe beat Oakland in the divisional round, and then simply win a single game against whomever in the conference final. Dare to dream, Houston fans?

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