If the Texans win their final three games, which would include a first-ever win at Indianapolis, then the Texans almost assuredly will make the playoffs. At 7-6, they are currently 8th in the AFC and trail three teams, Baltimore, San Diego and Pittsburgh by just one game.
The Texans also have a 6-3 record in the AFC, which would move to 9-3 with three wins obviously. That would guarantee them the best conference record among all the wild card contenders, except for one – Pittsburgh, who could also have a 9-3 record and has a head-to-head win over the Texans. Although, if the Steelers and the Texans each win their remaining three games, the Steelers would win the AFC north and the Texans would then have a 10-6 record and have the best conference record among all wild card teams. (Remember the Steelers could still match the Texans 9-3 conference record without winning the division potentially if they lost at Atlanta this week and the Bengals win their next two games before losing to Pittsburgh in the season finale. The Bengals would have already clinched the division, though could still be playing for seeding….and so on…etc…continued…you get it.)
If the Texans are 10-6 and with the Steelers as a division champ, the only way the Texans would NOT be in the playoffs as a wild card team is if the Chargers win out (vs Den, at SF, at KC) AND the Bengals win their next two games, before losing to the Steelers in week 17. (Though if the above happens AND Denver loses out (at SD, at Cin, vs Oak), the Texans would be the final wild card team and the Broncos would miss the playoffs!).
Here’s a look at the AFC situation in a nutshell, plus my projections for the remaining games. Note I do not have the Texans winning at the Colts and I do not have them making the playoffs at 9-7. I also include the final standings and playoff set-up should my projected results play out (h/t ESPN Playoff Machine).
Here’s a link to the playoff machine. Just a slight tweak to the above, like a Ravens loss in week 17 to Johnny Football, would put the Texans (9-7) in the playoffs, even if all my other projected results stay the same.