After the way the Texans dominated the Ravens, 43-13, at Reliant Stadium on Sunday, it sure looks as if all playoff roads in the AFC will lead through Houston.
Yes, there's a lot of football left to be played. The season's not even half over. But the Texans already have a 2 1/2-game lead in their division and a schedule that is favorable. Over their final nine games, they face only three teams (Chicago, New England and Minnesota) that have winning records. The Texans, who now also own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Ravens, definitely control their own destiny in the race for the AFC's No. 1 seed.
And that does not bode well for the Ravens, who almost certainly will have to win a playoff game on the road at some point if they want to reach their ultimate goal, the Super Bowl.
Can the Ravens win a road playoff game? First things first; they'll have to be a lot better on both sides of the ball than they were on Sunday just to reach the playoffs. They play five of their final nine games on the road, and over their past 10 quarters on the road, they have scored exactly one touchdown.
Still, if there's any consolation, it's that the Ravens, despite some historically bad defense for this franchise of late and an offense that has yet to show itself on the road, still sit atop the AFC North.
"After seven games, you think of everything this team has been through, (to) come out 5-2 going into the bye? We'll take that," linebacker Terrell Suggs said after the game. "We'll take that every day."
Suggs also implied that, as many suggested beforehand, Sunday's game might have been a preview of the AFC Championship Game.
"Please believe," Suggs said, "They'll see us again."
Unfortunately for the Ravens, Sunday's game almost certainly means any playoff rematch would be in Houston, not in Baltimore.