Up until the Houston Texans were dismantled by the New England Patriots, the Texans looked like the clear favorites to be the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs.
Even after losing to New England, it appeared that Houston would at least earn a bye week.
After losing to the Indianapolis Colts in Week 17, the Texans saw a bye week disappear as Houston is now locked in as the No. 3 seed in the AFC.
Needless to say, Texans fans are disappointed. The folks over at Battle Red Blog, SB Nation's Texans blog, noted that Houston's latest loss managed to "destroy optimism" that the fan base once had.
They have looked completely unprepared, totally listless, and generally awful for the better part of a month (at least). They have managed to destroy any optimism their fan base once had, and they've surely murdered any momentum they could have had entering the postseason.
Despite being a 12-4 team, it is entirely reasonable to question whether this squad is capable of doing anything in the postseason. Really, it's fair to question everything.
Though no team wants to back into the playoffs like the Texans have, the Texans do have a chance to make noise in the AFC -- but they'll have to take it one game at a time. Houston will host Cincinnati in the Wild Card round, and if the Texans win, they'll have to head back to Foxboro to take on Tom Brady and the Patriots.
Kickoff between Houston and Cincinnati is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. CT on Saturday.