NFL Watch: Saints, Texans Clinch Playoff Berths

The Houston Texans’ improbable run lands them their first ever AFC South Division Title.

words // Brandon Richard

Following their resilient win at Reliant Stadium last week, the Houston Texans traveled to Cincinnati to play the tough Bengals on the road with an AFC South division crown hanging in the balance. With rookie T.J. Yates taking snaps and wide receiver Andre Johnson sitting out, the Texans had their work cut out for them if they were indeed going to clinch their first ever playoff berth.

Things didn’t look good for Houston early on. A Jerome Simpson touchdown catch and three Mike Nugent field goals gave the Bengals a commanding 16-3 lead heading into halftime. However, a rejuvenated Texans team emerged from the locker room, tacking on two Yates touchdown passes and a Neil Rackers field goal to ultimately clinch the AFC South with a nail-biting 20-19 victory.

Also stamping their ticket to the playoffs on Sunday were the New Orleans Saints, who found themselves in an unexpected dogfight with  the Tennessee Titans. Trailing heading into the fourth quarter, the Saints rallied behind two Drew Brees touchdown passes to Marques Coltston, enough to give New Orleans a 22-17 win and at least a Wild Card playoff spot.

In other early Week 13 action, Big Ben led the Steelers to a hard-fought 14-3 win over the Cleveland Browns on a bad ankle; the Baltimore Ravens kept the Indianapolis Colts winless with an easy 24-10 victory at home; the Atlanta Falcons rallied in Carolina to beat the Panthers 31-23 and keep their playoff hopes alive; Detroit’s defensive touchdowns proved to be the difference in the Lions’ 34-28 win over the Minnesota Vikings; the Jacksonville Jaguars got four touchdowns from Maurice Jones-Drew in a lopsided 41-14 blowout of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; the Philadelphia Eagles were hoping to turn their season around with a solid 26-10 win in Miami; and the New York Jets ended the Todd Haley Era in Kansas City after beating the Chiefs 37-10.

Check out the football cleats worn in these games and more in today’s NFL Watch.

NFL Watch: Saints, Texans Clinch Playoff Berths

Marques Colston wearing Nike Zoom Vapor Carbon Fly vs. Tennessee TitansMarques Colston blows kisses to celebrate a touchdown grab in the Nike Zoom Vapor Carbon Fly.

Ben Roethlisberger wearing the Nike Air Zoom Super Bad 3 vs. Cleveland BrownsA hobbled Big Ben gutted it out, coincidentally wearing a strapless version of the Nike Air Zoom Super Bad 3.

Torrey Smith wearing Under Armour Nitro III vs. Indianapolis ColtsTorrey Smith jumps for joy in the Under Armour Nitro III after catching a touchdown pass.

Julio Jones wearing Under Armour Nitro Diablo CompFit vs. Carolina PanthersJulio Jones explodes for one of his two Sunday touchdowns in the upcoming Nitro Diablo CompFit Under Armour football cleats.

Arian Foster wearing Nike Super Speed TD vs. Cincinnati BengalsArian Foster breaks through arm tackles in the Nike Super Speed TD.

Alphonso Smith wearing Nike Zoom Vapor Carbon Fly vs. Minnesota VikingsAlphonso Smith picked off a pass for a touchdown in the Nike Zoom Vapor Carbon Fly.

Maurice Jones-Drew wearing Reebok NFL U-Form 4Speed Mid M4 vs. Tampa Bay BuccaneersMaurice Jones-Drew found paydirt four times in NFL U-Form 4Speed Mid M4 Reebok football cleats.

Michael Vick wearing Nike Vapor Talon Elite vs. Miami DolphinsMichael Vick returned to the field showcasing the upcoming Vapor Talon Elite Nike football cleats.

Shonn Greene wearing Nike Zoom Alpha Talon vs. Kansas City ChiefsShonn Greene with a Superman-esque dive in the Nike Zoom Alpha Talon.

images via ESPN