As tough as the first grouping of games the Texans will face is, I think overall this is a very favorable schedule for Houston. “But look at all the playoff teams!” you might say, well sure, but last year is last year. If the Texans do get held back this year, it’s not going to be by the schedule, but by half-assing their approach to fixing the defense. Again.
Three reasons I like this schedule for the Texans:
1) Only one prime-time game.
As great as it was being featured all over the place last season, the Texans did go 0-3 (against admittedly good opponents) on days that weren’t Sunday last year. They were 4-2 on the regular Sunday rotation before the bye, then they had MNF against the Colts, and a really awkward stretch where they played on three days rest in Philly and 10 days rest against Baltimore.
I would choose bland and routine every week with the schedule if I could, and the Texans won’t have to change their plans at all until the next-to-last week of the season, which may be the best time to catch the Colts considering how many injuries they tend to accumulate.
2) We’ll figure out right away if this team is a contender
Almost all of the Texans really difficult games come in the first six weeks of the season. Hosting the Colts and Steelers, and then going on the road against the Dolphins, Saints, and Ravens. Oh, and they play the Raiders too.
The good news about this? Well, like I said about the Colts earlier: the sooner the Texans face these teams, the less likely they are to be dealing with a lot of injuries. Additionally, if they come out of that stretch at 3-3, you have to like their odds of dealing with their schedule for the rest of the season.
Oh, and if the lockout happens to extend into the season and take away some of these games…well, that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for Texans fans.
3) The NFC South is a paper tiger
It’s really unfair that the Texans got the NFC South, right? Two playoff teams, and even the Buccaneers went 10-6 last year. What grave misfortune for the Texans!
Well, it’s not really that big of a deal. Remember 2009, when the Texans went 9-7? How overjoyed we all were? What really gave them a boost that season was a 3-1 slate against the NFC West. Or as it’s been called for the last five or six years now: the worst division in football.
The NFC South made their living last year on slapping around, you guessed it, the NFC West. To be sure, the Saints and Falcons are solid teams, but they’re not hardly the juggernauts that their records last season made them out to be. Tough games? Yes. Winnable games? Yes.
If that Texans defense is fixed, that is.