The Houston Texans are still tied with the Tennessee Titans atop the AFC South. After late wins by both teams in week 15 the 8-6 records make a showdown between the two teams in week 17 for the division title much more likely.
In fact, there is only one way that a Week 17 division winner deciding game isn’t in play for January 1st:
If the Titans lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Christmas Eve Day and the Texans beat the CincinnaCincinnati while Santa is delivering presents the Houston Texans will be the 2016 AFC South division winners. This is the only way the Texans can win the division before Week 17.
Any of the three other combinations of wins and losses between the two teams means the teams will have a final game decider Week 17.
If the Titans win in Jacksonville on Saturday, the Bengals game becomes almost meaningless for the Texans on Christmas Eve.
While the Texans do have an outside look at a wild card, it only comes into play if they beat Cincinnati and lose to the Titans to lose the division AND the Ravens, Broncos and Dolphins all lose their last two games
The Colts can still win the division over both the Titans and the Texans but the Colts would have to win their last two games with the Texans lose their last two and the Titans lose to Jacksonville but win that final game over the Texans in Tennesee. Then the 9-7 Colts and Titans would be tied and the Colts would hold the tie-breaker because they beat the Titans in both of their matchups this season.
Christmas Eve will be an interesting day of games for the AFC South that sees all four AFC south teams playing and could see a number of different outcomes for the division come into play in week 17.