Texans beat Colts to clinch playoff spot, impacting Cardinals’ draft slot

Jan 6, 2024, 10:08 PM | Updated: 10:20 pm

C.J. Stroud...

C.J. Stroud #7 an Brevin Jordan #9 of the Houston Texans celebrate a touchdown during the first quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 06, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The Houston Texans defeated the Indianapolis Colts 23-19 on Saturday night to clinch a spot in the playoffs after a three-win season in 2022. Houston reaching the postseason hurts the Arizona Cardinals, who own the Texans’ first-, third- and fifth-round picks in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Houston’s first-round pick will not be in the top 18, and playoff wins would drop it further.

The Texans (10-7) are going to the playoffs for the first time since 2019. They won seven of their final 10 games and still could win the AFC South if the Jacksonville Jaguars lose at the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.

A first-round loss for the Texans would ensure the Cardinals get a top 24 pick. A win drops the Cardinals down the draft board to No. 25 or later.


The Cardinals acquired Houston’s first- and third-round picks during a draft-day trade last year in a package for the No. 3 pick. Houston took Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. third overall after selecting Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud second.

Arizona nabbed a fifth-rounder from Houston for offensive lineman Josh Jones before the season.

Stroud was 20-for-26 with 264 yards and two touchdowns on Saturday. Nico Collins had nine catches for 195 yards and a score.

The Colts had a late fourth-and-1 play from the Houston 15. But a wide-open Tyler Goodson dropped Gardner Minshew’s pass, ending the Colts’ hopes.

Indianapolis (9-8) was eliminated from the playoff chase with its third loss in five weeks.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.  

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