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Texans get key win in AFC South playoff race

The Texans edged out the Colts in Week 12. We break down what it means for the playoff picture.

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson throws a pass to Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller in the second quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at NRG Stadium. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Texans won a back-and-forth affair on Thursday Night Football, beating the Indianapolis Colts at home 20-17. DeShaun Watson welcomed back Will Fuller by targeting him a team high 11 times. DeAndre Hopkins found the end zone twice and a solid ground game coupled with a strong effort defending the pass did the trick for Houston.

The Texans improved to 7-4 with the win, while the Colts dropped to 6-5. Both teams have five games remaining in the season, but this was a pretty huge matchup at this point on the calendar. The two teams were tied atop the AFC South and the Colts had the head-to-head tiebreaker thanks to their Week 7 home win over Houston. The Texans win means the two teams have split the head-to-head and would go to divisional record as the next tiebreaker, if it came down to that.

The Texans now sit in the third playoff spot. They are tied with the AFC West-leading Kansas City Chiefs, but Houston gets the head-to-head tiebreaker. Baltimore sits at 8-2 and New England at 9-1, so for now a first round bye is just a little bit out of reach. The Texans host the Patriots next week, so that could change in a hurry.

The Colts are on the outside looking in for a wild card berth. They are in the seventh spot, a half game back of the 6-4 Oakland Raiders and a game and a half back of the 7-3 Buffalo Bills. The Raiders travel to face the New York Jets this weekend, while the Bills host Denver. The Colts host the Tennessee Titans in Week 13.