How NFL Teams Finish When Clinching Playoffs In Final Week

How NFL Teams Finish When Clinching Playoffs In Final Week
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

The Houston Texans have a shot at capping off one of the more improbable year-over-year comeback stories on Sunday – too bad there is no legal Texas sports betting to amplify the excitement. Houston will look to snap the franchise’s four-year playoff drought against the Indianapolis Colts on the road.

Thanks to three wins in their last five games and some solid play from rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud, Houston enters Week 18 of the NFL season 9-7. But the Texans need not only a win but also a Jacksonville Jaguars loss or tie to clinch the AFC South for the first time since 2019.

Houston is sitting in the eighth spot in the AFC, tied with the No. 7 Colts ahead of their Saturday evening primetime showdown on ABC at Lucas Oil Stadium. Houston is listed as a one-point favorite on ESPN BET, with a moneyline of -120 for the Texans (to even money for the Colts). Indy won the first showdown between them, 31-20, on Sept. 17. ESPN BET Texas would very likely be one of the main players if the Lone Star State gets legal sports betting implemented.

To get a sense of where the Texans may go with a win on Sunday, used ChampsorChumps,us to look at how teams ended up performing after clinching a playoff spot in the last week of the season since 2013 NFL season. There have been 29 teams that clinched a playoff spot on the last week of the season in the past 10 seasons. Before 2021, the data below refers to Week 17.

Performance of Teams Clinching in Last Week

SituationNumber of Teams Percentage
Winning Wild Card Round15 of 2951.7%
Winning Divisional Round2 of 296.9%
Winning Conference Championship0 of 290.0%
Winning Super Bowl0 of 290.0%

Can Texans Be NFL Final Weekend Warriors?

The state does not have legal sportsbooks or Texas online casinos, but fans will still be paying attention to the final week of the NFL season and the trends worth watching. Since 2013, just over half of the 29 NFL teams that clinched a playoff berth in the final week of the regular season went on to win their Wild Card round contest, with 15 (or 51.7%) doing so during that period. One of the teams in our data set was the 2015 Texans, who squeaked into the playoffs as division champs at 9-7 but lost to the visiting Kansas City Chiefs 30-0 in the Wild Card round.

Of those 15 teams, only two made it past the NFL Divisional round and none advanced past the conference championship, according to the data. That speaks to the long road that awaits Houston, win or lose, on Sunday. A win over the Colts would give Houston its first double-digit win season since that 2019 campaign, where the Texans went 10-6. That year, they made it to the AFC Divisional Round but also lost to the Chiefs, 51-31.

Fast forward four years and the Texans and their fresh-faced quarterback have a shot at repeating a bit of franchise history in the capital of the Hoosier State. Houston fans hope this year might be the one when the franchise finally advances past the AFC Divisional Round for the first time.

Follow to track continued efforts in making legal Texas sportsbook apps a reality.



Christopher Boan is a writer with, covering state issues. He has covered sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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