So, tonight’s Houston-New England game is a big deal. Anytime its December, and the two best records in the conference clash on Monday Night Football, it’s appointment viewing. Let’s take a look at the projected AFC brackets based on different outcomes tonight.

If the home chalk Patriots win, the current shape of the AFC bracket would look like this:

  • 1 seed: Houston, 11-2 (AFC South Champ)
  • 2 seed: New England, 10-3 (AFC East Champ)
  • 3 seed: Denver, 10-3 (AFC West Champ)
  • 4 seed: Baltimore, 9-4 (AFC North Champ)
  • 5 seed: Indianapolis, 9-4 (Wild Card)
  • 6 seed: Pittsburgh, 7-6 (Wild Card)

The Steelers, despite now losing games to teams coached by Pat Shurmur, Norv Turner, Mike Munchak and whatever idiot is coaching the Raiders these days, still holds a playoff spot, by virtue of a head to head win over Cincinnati, who are also at 7-6. The Steelers host Cincy in Week 16 in a game that looks like it will decided that sixth and final postseason berth in the AFC.

The Patriots win would not impact that, however. It would, obviously, make things interesting at the top. First, the chase between them and Houston for the #1 overall seed would be officially on. The Texans would still have a 1-game lead with three to play, but the Patriots would have the all important tie breaker in their back pocket should they defeat the Texans tonight. Thats not all a Patriot win does. It also seriously opens the door for the Colts to take over the AFC South from the Texans. That division has looked wrapped up since the summer preseason mags hit the shelf, but with a loss tonight, the Texans might be spending the rest of December fending off the Colts and trying to save their division title. Sure, they would still be two games behind the Colts, but guess what? Houston and Indy play each other twice in the final three weeks, including next Sunday in Indy. They end the season in Week 17 knocking heads against each other in Houston. With a loss tonight, the Colts would control their own fate to win the division. If they win out, they are the South champs, kicking Houston to a wild card. Even if Houston wins tonight, the Colts threat exist. The difference being with a win tonight, the Texans would be a single win by them from clinching the division. They could lost both games to Indy, but as long as they beat the Titans in Week 16, the division will still be theirs.

Now that that is clear as mud, here’s what the bracket will look like tonight, should the Texans win in New England.

  • 1 Seed: Houston, 12-1
  • 2 Seed: Denver, 10-3
  • 3 Seed: Baltimore, 9-4
  • 4 Seed: New England, 9-4
  • 5 Seed: Indianapolis, 9-4
  • 6 Seed: Pittsburgh, 7-6

Look at what happens to New England. They drop all the way to the 4 seed. They’ve already won their division basically, so they cant fall farther than that. But the Patriots can either win tonight, take off and end as the AFC top seed. Or lose tonight, probably fall into the wild card round and be faced with having to win road games at Denver and/or Houston to keep playing deep into January. The Pats would lose any tie breaker with Baltimore, but would win tie breakers with Denver. They could easily rally back up to the #2 slot if they win out and Denver drops a game somewhere.

So there you go, the various playoff implications of tonight’s game. New England is favored by 5.5 points. The Over/Under tonight is 51.5 points. And, here is the list of player props available this evening. Hit us up if something looks good, we’re craving a best bet tonight.

Matt Schaub, Over/Under 22 completions, 260.5 passing yards, 1.5 touchdown passes

Arian Foster, Over/Under 92.5 rushing yards

Andre Johnson, Over/Under 6 catches, 87.5 receiving yards

Kevin Walter, Over/Under 3 catches, 32.5 receiving yards

Owen Daniels, Over/Under 4 catches

Tom Brady, Over/Under 25 completions, 300.5 passing yards, 2 touchdown passes

Stevan Ridley, Over/Under 76.5 rushing yards

Wes Welker, Over/Under 7 catches, 90.5 receiving yards

Brandon Lloyd, Over/Under 3.5 catches, 51.5 receiving yards

Aaron Hernandez, Over/Under 5 catches, 68. receiving yards