AFC South Playoff Scenarios and Standings: Jaguars, Texans, Colts All Contending for Postseason Spots

Can the Jaguars grab the AFC's No. 1 seed? Will the Texans and/or Colts earn Wild Card berths? Welcome to the wondrous world of AFC South playoff scenarios.

The AFC South was widely expected to be a one-team race in 2023. But while the Jacksonville Jaguars have largely held serve, the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts have surprisingly positioned themselves for potential postseason berths.

What do the AFC South’s playoff scenarios look like ahead of Sunday’s NFL games, and how could the Jaguars, Texans, and Colts’ postseason odds change in Week 13?

AFC South Playoff Scenarios Entering Week 13

Jacksonville Jaguars Playoff Chances

Winners of seven of their last eight, the Jaguars have a two-game lead on the Texans and Colts going into Sunday. Jacksonville’s Week 12 win over Houston was critical. The New York Times’ projection model now gives Trevor Lawrence’s team a 94% of winning the AFC South.

There’s almost no chance the Jaguars will lose their division lead with six games remaining in the regular season. Jacksonville has already beaten Indianapolis twice, split its series with Houston, and won’t have to face either club again.

Zoom out, and the Jaguars hold the No. 3 seed in the AFC playoff picture. They’re one of four AFC teams — joining the Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs, and Miami Dolphins — with only three losses.

If Jacksonville beats the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night, it will move into the second seed — worst. If the Chiefs lose to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night, the Jags will exit the week atop the conference standings.

Can Jacksonville end the season as the No. 1 seed? The NYT gives them an 18% chance, roughly in line with the Ravens and Dolphins. Kansas City remains the overwhelming favorite (46%) to land the AFC’s first-round bye.

If the Jaguars win and the Chiefs lose in Week 13, Jacksonville’s odds of earning the top seed will increase to nearly 30%.

Here’s the Jaguars’ remaining schedule:

  • Week 13: vs. CIN
  • Week 14: at CLE
  • Week 15: vs. BAL
  • Week 16: at TB
  • Week 17: vs. CAR
  • Week 18: at TEN

Houston Texans Playoff Chances

Although the Texans probably eliminated whatever chance they had to win the AFC South by narrowly losing to the Jags in Week 12, they’re still in a decent position to enter the playoffs as a Wild Card team.

Houston and Indianapolis have identical 6-5 records, but the Colts are technically ahead of the Texans thanks to their head-to-head victory in Week 2. Still, the NYT gives Houston (57%) a slightly better chance to make the postseason than the Indy (48%).

Both teams are behind the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns, both in the actual AFC Wild Card standings and in playoff odds. The Steelers, Browns, Texans, Colts, and Denver Broncos are likely competing for the available postseason entries.

Half of Houston’s remaining games come against members of that group, so C.J. Stroud and Co. will have the opportunity to play themselves into the tournament.

That process begins Sunday, when the Texans will face the Broncos in a game with real playoff implications. If Houston wins, its playoff chances will rise to 72%; a loss drops them to one in three.

Here’s the Texans’ remaining schedule:

  • Week 13: vs. DEN
  • Week 14: at NYJ
  • Week 15: at TEN
  • Week 16: vs. CLE
  • Week 17: vs. TEN
  • Week 18: at IND

Indianapolis Colts Playoff Chances

The Colts’ playoff path is similar to the Texans’ — and there’s a chance the AFC’s final Wild Card spot could come down to Week 18’s Indianapolis-Houston matchup.

Unlike the Texans, the Colts won’t benefit from playing the Tennessee Titans twice to close the season. But their remaining schedule is just the 26th-hardest in the NFL, per DVOA, while Houston’s is the 27th-most difficult.

Indy is a one-point favorite against the Titans on Sunday. If the Colts win, their playoff odds will rise to 60%. Meanwhile, a Texans victory against the Broncos this weekend would actually be beneficial to Indy.

Looking ahead, the Colts will play the Joe Burrow-less Cincinnati Bengals in Week 14. If Indy can win its next two games, its playoff chances will increase to nearly three in four.

Here’s the Colts’ remaining schedule, the easiest of any AFC North teams’:

  • Week 13: at TEN
  • Week 14: at CIN
  • Week 15: vs. PIT
  • Week 16: at ATL
  • Week 17: vs. LV
  • Week 18: vs. HOU

Want to predict the rest of the 2023 season with our FREE NFL Playoff Predictor? Looking for the most up-to-date NFL standings? What about a breakdown of team depth charts or the NFL schedule? Pro Football Network has you covered with that and more! 

Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast!

Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review!

Join the Conversation!

Related Articles