The Oakland Raiders and Houston Texans are here because they accumulated the wins, but both have fatal flaws.
After starting quarterback Derek Carr went down with a broken leg - and with backup Matt McGloin's own health in uncertain - it is increasingly looking like rookie Connor Cook out of Michigan State will make his first career start in this crucial playoff game with the hopes of an eager franchise on his back.
During an eight-possession stretch bracketed by their two touchdowns in the first and fourth periods, the Raiders punted eight times, produced just three first downs, and amassed 28 net yards on 28 plays. And the unit didn't slow down on Saturday.
"I asked at halftime and the coaches really felt that there were other things that were kind of contributing and there wasn't going to be a big change based on the change at quarterback", Del Rio said. "We are going to keep fighting all season". If Pittsburgh wins, they will face the Kansas City Chiefs, while if Miami wins, they will face the New England Patriots. One from Amari Cooper on a perfectly thrown long ball, one of the few the Raiders actually tried, and the worst being from Michael Crabtree when the Raiders had gotten the ball back after their first score.
Playing with your third-string quarterback is never easy, but the Raiders did Cook no favors.
"Those guys picked me No. 1, they've seen something in me, " Clowney said. "But they know, at full strength, ain't nobody in the league touching us, man". The Houston offense averaged just 17 points-per-game all season, so putting up 27 against a pretty good defense is very encouraging.
The Houston Texans officially ruled out quarterback Tom Savage with a concussion for Saturday's AFC wild-card playoff game against the Oakland Raiders.
In the offseason, the Houston Texans signed Brock Osweiler away from the Denver Broncos with a $72 million deal. He threw for one touchdown and ran for another.
Head coach Bill O'Brien has already named Brock Osweiler as the starting quarterback regardless of opponent.
The Texans won the AFC South and advanced in the playoffs in large part because they built the team around a transcendent player, much as they did with Watt.
OUT OF THE BACKFIELD: While the Raiders struggled to run the ball in the first meeting with a season-low 30 yards on 20 carries, that didn't mean it wasn't a productive game for the running backs.
With Penn sidelined, the Raiders will likely move right tackle Menelik Watson to the left side and put Austin Howard in at right tackle, where he played much of the year when Watson was hurt.
"When you're able to play for the fun of the game, for the love of the game, passion comes with that", said Osweiler.