On December 4, 2023, the Houston Texans won against the Denver Broncos with a score of 22-17, but the victory was marred by the loss of rookie wide receiver Tank Dell to a season-ending injury. Dell suffered a fractured left fibula, which was confirmed by X-rays after the game. The injury occurred during the first quarter as Dell was blocking on a running play at the goal line. Running back Dameon Pierce scored a touchdown, but Dell got caught in the dog pile at the goal line.
The 5-foot-10, 165-pound wide receiver had been having a stellar rookie season, catching 47 passes for 709 yards and seven touchdowns in the first 10 games of the season. Before his injury, Dell had been on a four-game touchdown streak, showcasing his talent and value to the Texans. Head coach DeMeco Ryans expressed his disappointment at losing Dell, emphasizing the impact he had on the team both on and off the field.
With Dell out, veteran wide receiver Noah Brown is expected to step up on the depth chart. The Texans currently hold a 7-5 record and are in contention for a playoff spot, sitting in third place in the AFC South. They are in a tight race with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, and Indianapolis Colts for a wild card spot. The Texans defeated the Colts in Week 2, and they will face off again in the final game of the season in Week 18.
According to playoff predictions, the Texans have a 78% chance of making the playoffs and are favored with -400 odds. The Colts, on the other hand, have a 67% chance and are favored with -205 odds. The Texans also have a +4000 odds of winning the Super Bowl LVIII, and they are +1800 odds to win the AFC Championship.
Despite the setback of losing Dell, the Texans remain confident in their ability to secure a playoff spot and make a strong push in the postseason.