NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It’s the time of the year where teams are vying for a playoff spot and those who already have one, are trying to get to the post season healthy.
The Baltimore Ravens have already announced they plan to sit Lamar Jackson among a bevy of starters. Baltimore has secured the No. 1 seed in the AFC, so it’s not worth it in their eyes to risk injury in a meaningless game.
So, what about the Houston Texans?
Houston has secured the division, but could possibly move up from the 4 seed to the 3 seed barring a win, a Chiefs loss and Patriots loss. Both seeds have home-field advantage and will play Wild Card weekend. The only difference is who their opponent will be and a better chance to host the AFC Championship game if they make it there.
Bill O’Brien told the Houston media Monday, “It’s all about the game, it’s all about trying to win games. We realize all those things you just said are very important factors to take into relative to where we’re at, but we need to play to win the game.”
The one aspect helping the Texans is they will know before kickoff if the 3 seed is possible. If the Chiefs beat the Chargers in the noon time slot, the Texans would secure the 4 seed win or lose.
So, there’s a chance bill O’Brian could go into Sunday with the intention to play his starters, and then adjust based on the Chiefs result.
As for the Titans, Mike Vrabel is aware of the prospect of facing AJ McCarron instead of Deshaun Watson.
“I think that that’s always an interesting dynamic when you get to the end of the season and there’s teams that have secured whatever playoff spot that they have,” Vrabel said to the Nashville media Monday. “We have to focus on the Texans and what we think that they have done, will do and what they’ve shown through the course of the season.”
One known difference in personnel for the Texans from the time they met in Week 15, Will Fuller V is out for Week 17.