If anyone argues that the NFL isn’t leaps and bounds the biggest sport in this country, I need only to point them to the reaction of the 2013 schedule release last Thursday night. Not only was the chatter on social media at an all time high, but the NFL Network even did a three hour special around the release. I guarantee you no other sport in this nation generates that kind of attention.
Unlike the NFL Network though, that went through each teams schedule and made predictions, I’m not quite prepared to do that. But what I can do is go through my hometown Texans schedule and take a closer look at the key match ups and storylines that might end up surrounding each game.
- At San Diego – For the first time in franchise history, the Texans will open the season on Monday Night Football. And for the first time in recent memory, I’ll probably stay up late enough to finish that late game. With the Chargers rebuilding, Houston needs to take care of business with a rough stretch coming up early.
- Vs Tennessee – Even when the Texans played poorly, they still handled the Titans in both opportunities in 2012. With the Titans continuing to rebuild, this is another one Houston better not slip up against, because it’s tough for the next month.
- At Baltimore – The Texans finally got their first franchise victory over the defending champs last season, but have never played well against them on the road. With big changes in personnel for both teams in the offseason, Ed Reed’s return to Baltimore will get all the press.
- Vs Seattle – The new “It” team makes its visit to Houston riding a wave of high expectations. After capturing the excitement of the casual NFL fan in the postseason, many are predicting greatness for the Seahawks in 2013. Houston has to prove they can defend their home turf against the league’s elite before they can declare themselves in that category.
- At San Francisco – The one game on the schedule Texans fans seem to have marked as a certain defeat, the Niners are coming off of one uncalled pass interference from a possible Super Bowl title. With a good free agency outing and a plethora of draft picks, to think they’ll be worse in 2013 is foolish.
- Vs St. Louis – Jeff Fisher makes his return to Houston but in a different shade of blue. After a tough stretch the past three weeks, the Texans could be licking their wounds and looking for a little home cooking.
- At Kansas City – This is where the Texans need to clean up. The middle of their schedule is pretty manageable and after a tough start and even tougher ending, this stretch is key to their 2013 chances.
- Bye – Again, the Texans have one of the most favorable bye weeks in the league.
- Vs Indianapolis – The Texans return from their bye against the only team in the division that could threaten them in 2013 in their only home primetime appearance this season.
- At Arizona – While the Cardinals are beginning their rebuild, the Texans need to watch out for the potential “trap” scenario here. The draft hasn’t happened yet, but to think the Cards offensive line situation will be completely fixed is ludicrous. Expect the Texans to bring the rush all game.
- Vs Oakland – It seems like these two teams just happen to play every single year. For awhile it was because they both finished last every single season. Now, they just get lucky by facing the AFC West in 2013.
- Vs Jacksonville – The last game in the softer part of the 2013 schedule, the Texans will need to finish strong against the rebuilding Jags and not be looking past them towards their week 13 opponent.
- Vs New England – After two serious embarrassments on national television last year, Houston shouldn’t need any form of bulletin board material to get up for this match up.
- At Jacksonville – An odd scheduling decision has the Texans traveling to Jacksonville for a game just four days after their week 13 match up. With how the schedule finishes out, this one could be huge for Houston.
- At Indianapolis – Regardless of if you think the Texans are hands down better than the Colts or not, the fact remains that Houston has never won in Indianapolis; not even when Dan Orlovsky played that one year. It’s safe to assume it is in their heads at this point.
- Vs Denver – It just wouldn’t be a season of Houston Texans football without a match up against Peyton Manning. Houston was able to put the clamps on and finish the Broncos in Denver last season after almost letting them come back in garbage time. With playoff seeding on the line, this one could go either way.
- At Tennessee – With the Titans ready to play potential spoiler to the Texans playoff hopes/seeding, this one will be important.
I’ve gone on record saying that unless the Texans have a homerun of a draft, they could be in for a fight for the AFC South this year. I thought that the 2012 schedule was much easier than this one and I thought that team was better than this one is pre-draft. I haven’t forgotten the last quarter of 2012 and neither should any other Texans fan.
I’m not the make a prediction in April type, but looking at this schedule, I’m feeling a 10-6, leaning 9-7 finish with how this team is constructed right now. This emphasizes just how important it is for Rick Smith and Gary Kubiak to find players that can contribute this year with this draft.
Filed under: Houston Texans
Tagged with: AFC, AFC South, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos, Ed Reed, Gary Kubiak, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Jeff Fisher, Kansas City Chiefs, Monday Night Football, New England Patriots, NFL Network, NFL Schedule Release, Oakland Raiders, Peyton Manning, Rick Smith, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Tennessee Titans