This week's Top Five profiles the five most intriguing games of the 2010 Texans campaign. Yes, only one of the two Monday nighters makes the list. The Colts' visit to Houston to open the season appears to be the more interesting of the two Indy-Houston jousts, no doubt highlighted by the confident speech spewing from Texans camp about the contest. But which other games make the cut? Here they are, your top five most intriguing match ups.
1. Texans vs. Colts (Sept. 12)
Season openers normally have a giant build-up, followed by a "Uh, these guys aren't in sync yet" realization that causes us to - for whatever reason - dismiss the game's importance in favor of late-season contests. That won't be applying to the Texans in 2010. As the team itself has professed, this is going to be one of the most important games in franchise history. They've been preparing for it since OTA's. It's not on national television, they'll be without Brian Cushing and they'll be ushering in a tattered running game behind camp stud Arian Foster. Doesn't matter. Fair or unfair, anything less than a win (unless it just happens to be the closest, most studly performance that has ever yielded a loss) will be a disappointment.
2. Texans vs. Cowboys (Sept. 26)
It's not a rivalry on the field, but the Texans-Cowboys game is certainly a chance to exchange bragging rights amongst fans. The two clubs haven't shared a field since 2006 in Dallas when the 'Boys spanked the Texans, 34-6. Needless to say, the Texans have a score to settle.
3. Texans vs. Chargers (Nov. 7)
The Colts may be the most recognizable team that Houston has yet to defeat, but the Chargers hold the same distinction. Not only have the Texans failed to defeat the Chargers once, but they've been utterly destroyed in many of their contests, including a 35-10 beat down in 2007. Now that the Chargers will be changing pace with a new running game, Philip Rivers should be gunning for an unproven Texans secondary. It could easily be a shootout, hopefully proving fatal to San Diego.
4. Texans vs. Ravens (Dec. 13)
Hello, Monday Night Football. In the second of their ESPN appearances, the Texans take on Ray Rice and the Baltimore Ravens, who should be plenty comfortable with new toy Anquan Boldin by the time December rolls around. The Ravens may be one of the most complete teams in the league, though their one weakness plays to the Texans' strength: the secondary. Aside from Ed Reed, there's nothing to be afraid of, and now that Domonique Foxworth is out for the year, Andre Johnson and Co. should have a field day on national television against a tough opponent.
5. Texans at Titans (Dec. 19)
Divisional matchups always prove to be important down the stretch, and Houston's visit to Nashville should be no different. If they're going to make the playoffs, the Texans will need to win in their division, and if there's any date that has a chance to decide the Texans' fate, it could be Dec. 19. Brian Cushing should be in good form by then, which will be major step forward towards slowing down Chris Johnson's "getting away from the cops speed." Thank you, Gus Johnson.