AFC Playoff picture shakes out: Texans get Andy Dalton & the Bengals
The redhead from Katy, Texas (just outside of Houston) stands between the Houston Texans and the first playoff win in franchise history.
After a wild slate of late games, Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals emerged as the No. 6 seed. By the grace of tiebreakers, Cincinnati will be heading to the place Connor Barwin and company have dubbed The Slaughterhouse for a playoff game next Saturday or Sunday (most likely next Saturday, Jan. 7).
Despite being the only team in contention for one of the last two playoff spots in the AFC to win on Sunday, the Tennessee Titans (9-7) lost out due to tiebreakers. Once both the Jets and Denver lost, they were toast — out no matter what San Diego and Cincinnati did in their own games. Of course, considering how Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan reacted to a 23-22 win that the Texans gifted Tennessee, maybe justice is served.
Houston's just concerned with who it is playing. That's Cincinnati (9-7), the team the Texans came back to beat 20-19 on the road to clinch the AFC South title in Week 14.
To a man, the Texans said they didn't care who they faced in round one at Reliant after the loss to the Titans — hours before their opponent would be revealed. It's hard to be disappointed that it's the Bengals though. Houston suddenly might not be at such a disadvantage starting a rookie quarterback. The Katy-reared Dalton is a rookie too, albeit a first-round pick while T.J. Yates is a fifth-round pick.
"If we play like we're capable of playing on defense, come out with that fire, it doesn't matter who we play," Texans defensive end Antonio Smith said. "In this round and any other round."
If the Texans beat the Bengals, they will play at Baltimore in the second round. The Ravens clinched the No. 2 seed with a 24-16 beating of the back-in Bengals. The New England Patriots are in their familiar No. 1 seed in the AFC position. Despite scoring only three points and losing to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Denver Broncos still somehow won the AFC West and secured the fourth seed.
Tim Tebow really is the luckiest man in America.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are the fifth seed, Denver's opponent in round one.