There’s still one game to go in the regular season, but the Houston Texans (9-6) have already clinched the AFC South and are back in the playoffs for the second straight year. The Texans achieved this despite scoring just 23 touchdowns this year – far and away the fewest of any playoff team.
“The guys in that locker room, somehow we find a way,” Texans cornerback Kareem Jackson said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “For us to get a chance to take a trip back to the playoffs is definitely great for us as a team. We’re definitely looking forward to it.”
The Texans started 6-3, lost three straight games to the Raiders, Chargers and Packers, but have now won three straight with wins over the Colts, Jaguars and Bengals.
“Our mindset has always been the same,” Jackson said. “Even the games that we lost, our mindset has always been the same. We just had to work on finishing more. We preach that day in and day out. We have to finish. We have to play all four quarters as a team. These last couples games, we’ve been able to put together complete games.”
Many believe that the Texans, who benched Brock Osweiler for Tom Savage, don’t have a prayer of winning in the postseason.
“We definitely don’t pay it any attention,” said Jackson, a former first-round pick. “We’ve seen Savage grow over the years. We’ve seen him win games, as he did last week. We know he’s very capable. Everybody in the locker room will definitely be behind him 100 percent. The coaches will definitely push him to go out and be successful. For us as a team, we’re just looking forward to the opportunity, regardless of what anybody says outside the locker room. Those things don’t matter to us. The only thing that matters is the way we go out and the way we execute and the way we practice leading up to the game and going out and doing the things we need to do to be successful. That’s the only thing that concerns us.”
The Texans lead the league in total defense and have finally gotten a great season out of former No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney, who has 52 tackles, 6.0 sacks, 12 tackles for loss and one forced fumble.
“For one, he’s healthy,” Jackson said of Clowney, who played in just 17 games in his first two seasons. “Since his first day there, we’ve always seen ability in him. He just had a couple nicks there and a season-ending injury. He took care of that and for him to be healthy this year, he showed everybody what he’s capable of when he is healthy. He definitely made some tremendous strides as a player. His mentality is different. He’s somewhat of a leader in the locker room. He’s rallying everybody together and stuff like that. Like I said, he’s had a ton of ability. He’s just showing everybody what he can do once he’s healthy.”
Houston closes the regular season at Tennessee (8-7) this Sunday and will likely host either Oakland or Kansas City in the first round of the playoffs. The Texans have won the AFC South in four of the last six seasons.