The Houston Texans will try to clinch the AFC’s No. 1 seed Sunday when they face the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Houston has lost two of their last three, but can still lock up home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and a first-round bye with a win. The Texans could fall as low as the No. 3 seed, with a loss and wins by Denver and New England.
The Colts can bump Houston from the conference’s top spot, but are unable to affect who their first round opponent will be. Indianapolis is the No. 5 seed, can’t move up or down, and will play the No. 4 seed on the road, which will either be Baltimore or New England.
Houston will have top running back Arian Foster in the starting lineup this week, after he left the Texans 23-6 loss to the Minnesota Vikings due to an irregular heartbeat.
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The Texans offense completely stalled without Foster, managing only two field goals and 187 total yards.
Indianapolis has fared far better than Houston during the second half of the season. The Colts earned their playoff spot by dropping the Kansas City Chiefs 20-13, winning their fourth game in five tries.
Rookie sensation Andrew Luck hit receiver Reggie Wayne with a seven-yard strike for a touchdown with 4:08 left in the fourth quarter, sealing an Indianapolis victory and a triumphant season for interim coach Bruce Arians.
Arians took over for Chuck Pagano early in the season, so Pagano could under-go treatments for leukemia. Arians success this year has generated buzz that he could be a top candidate for many of the soon-to-be vacancies around the NFL.
The game begins at 1 p.m. EDT and will be shown by CBS, or watch a live stream online by purchasing NFL Sunday Ticket Max.
Betting Odds: Houston is favored by 4 points
Over/Under: 34.5 points
Prediction: With Foster’s return, the Houston offense should get back on track. But the Colts have more momentum, and would love to deny the Texans a shot at home-field. Luck should have a big game in an Indianapolis win.
Predicted Score: Indianapolis 27, Houston 20