The NFL released the league’s schedule Thursday, putting the Texans in the first important game of the season. After that though, Houston doesn’t get any more primetime games.
Here’s a look at the Texans schedule and background on the opponents that go with it:
WEEK 1: at Kansas City Chiefs - Thursday, September 10 - NBC
The Houston Texans are part of the season’s kickoff on the Thursday version of Sunday Night Football on NBC against the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs. The last time these two teams played, the Texans blew a 24-0 lead on the way to an all-time playoff loss. The good news is, the last time the Texans were in Kansas City, they pulled off an impressive regular season win where DeAndre Hopkins made a 4th down catch to seal it. Hopkins is gone, and the Chiefs remain virtually intact. The very early Vegas line has the Texans already a double-digit underdog.
WEEK 2: vs. Baltimore Ravens - Sunday, September 20 - CBS - 3:25 p.m.
The Texans have the toughest early season schedule of any team, following up the defending champs with 2019′s best regular season team. Lamar Jackson tore up the Texans in a 41-7 beatdown in Baltimore in 2019. There’s a distinct possibility the Texans start the season 0-2.
WEEK 3: at Pittsburgh Steelers - Sunday, September 27 - CBS - Noon
The Steelers missed the playoffs last season after losing Ben Roethlisberger to an injury early in the season. Ben is back and comes with 2/3 of the Watts now that Derek has joined T.J. in Pittsburgh. Philadelphia may be the city of brotherly love, but J.J. Watt will get to see the family in Pittsburgh.
WEEK 4: vs. Minnesota Vikings - Sunday, October 4 - FOX - Noon
The Vikings wrap up the Texans toughest-in-the-league first four at NRG Stadium. Minnesota may be best known this offseason for getting more back for Stefon Diggs than the Texans did for DeAndre Hopkins.
WEEK 5: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars - Sunday, October 11 - CBS - Noon
Houston swept the Jaguars last year, and this year Jacksonville has lost some of the defensive players that made the team dangerous a few years ago. Gardner Minshew has been given the keys to DUUUVAL after Nick Foles and his massive contract got traded. This is arguably Houston’s easiest game of the year, and is definitely a nice break from the team’s difficult early season schedule.
WEEK 6: at Tennessee Titans - Sunday, October 18 - CBS - Noon
This early season test will help decide the AFC South as the Titans are likely the early favorites after a surprise run to the AFC Championship. The Texans pulled off an impressive win in Nashville late last season in the middle of a Titans hot streak. That being said, Tennessee will still have Derrick Henry and a strong ground-based game. This makes five difficult games in the first six for Houston.
WEEK 7: vs. Green Bay Packers - Sunday, October 25 - FOX - Noon
Aaron. Rodgers. The Packers weren’t as strong as usual last season, but they still have their future Hall of Fame quarterback. Yet another tough game within the early part of the season.
WEEK 8: BYE
WEEK 9: at Jacksonville Jaguars - Sunday, November 8 - CBS - Noon
This time it’s not in London, but that won’t matter. Houston should be favored in this game.
WEEK 10: at Cleveland Browns - Sunday, November 15 - FOX - Noon
Much like the Titans before their end-of-2019 hot streak, you never know what you’re going to get from the Browns. The Texans could roll, or Baker Mayfield and his tandem of ex-LSU wide receivers could put it together. The Browns could be anywhere from 2-14 to 13-3. They’re an odd team.
WEEK 11: vs. New England Patriots - Sunday, November 22 - CBS - Noon
Normally, this game would be massive on the schedule but now there’s no Tom Brady. Welcome to Houston, Jarrett Stidham! Or...welcome back Brian Hoyer! Or...welcome whoever Bill Belichick makes some ridiculous trade for!
WEEK 12: at Detroit Lions - Thursday, November 26 - CBS - 11:30 a.m.
There’s only a few things as ubiquitous on Thanksgiving as turkey and one of them is the Detroit Lions. It’s another Belichick-disciple game with Bill O’Brien taking on Matt Patricia. These two teams faced each other in the preaseason in 2019.
WEEK 13: vs. Indianapolis Colts - Sunday, December 6 - CBS - Noon
This is another game that could very well decide the AFC South. The Colts are armed with a veteran (and familiar) quarterback in Philip Rivers, and return a mostly solid team. Rivers is somewhere between Jacoby Brissett and Andrew Luck, giving the Colts a real shot at the AFC South title.
WEEK 14: at Chicago Bears - Sunday, December 13 - CBS - Noon
The average temperature on December 13th in Chicago is 36 degrees. That’s a high. And it’ll be windy. The Bears have a tough defense, but a limited offense. That being said, Houston is not used to playing in those conditions.
WEEK 15: at Indianapolis Colts -TBD (Dec. 19 or Dec. 20) - TBD - TBD
This game gives the Texans another shot at primetime depending on how Houston and the Colts do late in the season. Last year’s trip to Indianapolis didn’t go well for the Colts, losing Will Fuller to injury for several weeks plus a loss.
WEEK 16: vs. Cincinnati Bengals - Sunday, December 27 - CBS - Noon
One of the final weeks of the year gives Texans fans and LSU fans in Houston to see Joe Burrow, who should be starting at quarterback by Week 16 if not right away. Unfortunately, without needing to tank, the Bengals should be improved late in the season. Also, it’s the return of defensive tackle D.J. Reader who the Bengals signed away from Houston to massive contract.
WEEK 17: vs. Tennessee Titans - Sunday, January 3 - CBS - Noon
The Texans yet again finish the year against the Titans at home. Last year, Houston locked up the division and played its backups. This year, they may not be so lucky. This game could decide the division.
It would be surprising if the Texans can win either of its first two games. Many of the rest of the games are winnable, but will likely be tight. If the Texans can come out of Week 4 at 3-1, there’s a good chance of 12 wins. There’s also a distinct possibility they could start the season 1-6 before they hit their bye week. I’ll predict they start slow, but together a mid-season run.
I’ve got them at 10-6.