The AFC playoffs picture wasn't as strung out as the NFC side of the bracket (which can be seen at CBSSports.com), everybody waiting to see who would win the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins in a division only the Redskins seemed to want to win (they won their last seven games). But everybody that was getting in to the AFC playoffs was known by the end of the day (Sunday) last week. Still, it would take the sixteenth games of the season to determine the seeds.
With the Houston Texans losing their last two matches while New England won theirs, it left the teams tied in overall wins and losses (12-4). But the Patriots beat Houston in the twelfth game of the season for each team (making three of the Texans' four losses coming in the last four games of the season), giving them the tie-breaker, the No. 2 seed in the AFC, and a first week bye. That put Houston in one the two AFC Wild Card games. The first playoff game of the season, as a matter of fact.
The Texans will have to contend with the hard-charging Cincinnati Bengals (10-6), who also lost a tie-breaker to their division rivals, the Baltimore Ravens (10-6), even though they beat the Ravens in the last game of the season for their third consecutive win going into the playoffs.
The winner of the Bengals-Texans match-up will advance to play the New England Patriots in the Divisional Playoffs.
With the Texans losing the second seed to the Patriots (and the Denver Broncos under Peyton Manning taking the No. 1 seed in the AFC with a 13-3 record, therefore gaining the other automatic bye) and getting the No. 3 seed, Baltimore's championing of the AFC North Division got them the No. 4 seed. The Ravens will take on Manning's old team, the Indianapolis Colts, a team under the very able guidance of rookie quarterback Andrew Luck and a record of 11-5.
The winner of the Colts-Ravens game will move forward to take on the top-seeded Denver Broncos.
AFC Wild Card Games TV Schedule
Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, at 4:30 pm (EST) on NBC
(6) Cincinnati Bengals vs. (3) Houston Texans
Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013, at 1:00 pm (EST) on CBS
(5) Indianapolis Colts vs. (4) Baltimore Ravens
****Numbers in parentheses indicate seed placement. Higher seeded teams have home field advantage. The Bengals and the Colts are the true Wild Card teams, while the Ravens and the Texans advanced into the playoffs by winning their respective divisions.)