2012 NFL schedule: Texans host the Vikings in Week 16

Bob Levey

Already in the driver's seat for home-field advantage, Houston goes up against the playoff-hungry Vikings

The early struggles of Denver and New England's recent loss to the 49ers have the Texans looking down at every one else in the AFC. Winning out would assure them a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the postseason. But the Vikings are game, currently sitting in the second Wild Card spot in the NFC after their defeat of the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.

Houston clinched the AFC South with their 29-17 win over the Colts on Sunday and silenced critics who pointed to their Week 14 loss to the Patriots as spirit-crushing. The Texans are third in the NFL in scoring, have the 5th best rushing attack and sport a +15 turnover margin. All of these things point to Houston being an elite team ready for a deep playoff run.

The Vikings have the Bears to thank for their inclusion in the NFC playoff picture. After a 7-1 start, Chicago has lost five of their last six, including a Week 14 loss in Minnesota. The Vikes can clinch a spot if they run the table, beating the Texans and a Packers team that may be taking it easy in Week 17.

Here's the rest of the NFL schedule for Week 16:

Saturday, December 22

Sunday, December 23
For the full NFL schedule, check out SI.com. Head over to SB Nation's NFL hub for coverage and analysis of Week 16. And for more on the Cowboys, dawdle over to Battle Red Blog.

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