The Houston Texans (12-2) wrap up their 2012 regular season home slate against the Minnesota Vikings (8-6) in a noon matchup that carries heavy playoff implications for both teams on Fan Appreciation Day presented by FOX Southwest at Reliant Stadium.
Houston clinched its second consecutive AFC South title last Sunday at home with a 29-17 win against Indianapolis and can clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win against the Vikings. Minnesota is in the middle of a muddled NFC playoff picture that features four other teams with 8-6 records. A pair of wins in the final two weeks of the season would greatly increase the chances of Minnesota earning its first playoff berth since 2009.
The game will feature Player of the Year and MVP candidates on both sides of the ball. Texans DE J.J. Watt is putting up historic numbers and leads the NFL’s seventh-ranked defense (325.9 yards per game). Watt is tied for the NFL lead with 19.5 sacks and has 33 tackles for loss, 38 quarterback hits, 15 passes defensed and three forced fumbles. He is the only player in NFL history with at least 15 sacks and 15 passes defensed in a single season.
RB Adrian Peterson is chasing history while leading the Vikings playoff charge. Peterson leads the NFL with 1,812 rushing yards and has Eric Dickerson’s single-season record of 2,105 yards for the L.A. Rams in 1984 in his sights.
Houston’s offense is averaging 386.8 yards per game and is ranked sixth in the NFL. QB Matt Schaub is 19-5 as a starter over the last two seasons and has the NFL’s top rushing-receiving duo at his disposal.
RB Arian Foster leads the AFC with 1,313 yards rushing and leads the NFL with 16 total touchdowns. WR Andre Johnson leads the AFC with 1,360 yards receiving, 1,002 of which have come in his last eight games.
• The Texans overcame a 21-0 third-quarter deficit to force overtime in a 34-28 loss to the Vikings in Minnesota’s only visit to Reliant Stadium on Oct. 10, 2004.
• Last Regular Season Meeting: Minnesota 28, Houston 21 in the Metrodome on Nov. 2, 2008.
A WIN AGAINST MINNESOTA WOULD…
• Extend Houston’s franchise single-season record to 13 wins.
• Give Houston its first win against Minnesota.
• Give Houston a 7-1 record at home on the season to set a franchise mark for home wins in a season.
• Improve Head Coach Gary Kubiak’s career record to 60-51.