NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Houston Texans made Sunday's game in Nashville relatively drama-free. But there was plenty of drama elsewhere that impacted the Texans' fate.
"Oh we'll be locked in for sure," safety Quintin Demps said. "We'll probably get together and watch it as DBs. We'll be cheering for the Bengals for sure."
There were a few clinching scenarios heading into Sunday.
If the Indianapolis Colts lost and the Texans won, Houston would have clinched the best record in the division. Instead, the Colts led their entire game against the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins had one final shot to win the game: They had a first-and-goal at the Colts' five-yard line, but couldn't score, losing 18-12.
There is now a possibility the Texans (8-7) and Colts (7-8) could finish with the same record, causing tie-breakers to kick in. If the Texans and Colts finish with the same record, they'll also have split their season series and will finish with the same division record, record against common opponents and conference record. The applicable tie-breaker will become the strength of their victories.
If the Carolina Panthers, New York Jets and New Orleans Saints all won Sunday, that would have clinched the strength-of-victory tie-breaker for the Texans. But the Panthers suffered their first loss of the season to the Falcons.
A win by the Panthers, Jets or Saints, in conjunction with a Bengals win Monday, will clinch the strength-of-victory tie-breaker. Since the Jets beat the Patriots, this scenario is still alive.
Heading into Sunday's game, it was also possible for the Texans to clinch a tie in strength of victory and clinch the better strength of schedule. That would require wins by the Kansas Chiefs (done -- 17-13 winners over the Browns), Baltimore Ravens (done -- 20-17 winners over the Pittsburgh Steelers) and Bengals. That scenario is also still alive, but unnecessary because the Jets won.
What's interesting to note here is that the Texans needed help from two of their former quarterbacks. Ryan Mallett started in the Ravens' win over the Steelers and Ryan Fitzpatrick started in the Jets' win over the Patriots. That irony was not lost on many around the organization.