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Vandermeer's View: Tougher schedule than you think
This year, the Houston Texans will play four games against three 2013 playoff teams.
In Week 6, the Texans will host the Indianapolis Colts in a Thursday night primetime matchup set for 7:25 p.m (CT) kickoff on October 9. Head coach Bill O'Brien likes the timing of the first meeting of the teams, which allows a longer week for the following Week 7 game, a Monday night matchup against the Steelers.
“Any time you play primetime, it means a lot to our players," O'Brien said in an interview with Texans TV on Wednesday. "It’s an exciting time. They know it’s a national audience. For us as coaches, I think it works out fairly well because it’s a home game and then a little bit of time between traveling to go to Pittsburgh. Again, for our players, it’s a great opportunity. For us as coaches, we look at it as giving us a little bit of extra time to prepare.”
In their second meeting with the Colts in Week 15, the Texans will be looking for their first win at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 14.
“Obviously the division is a very tough division," O'Brien said. "Every time we go against our division opponents, it’s going to be a grind. What’s good about that is that we’re able to finish up at home against the division. Any time that you can play at home, that’s a great thing for your players, your fans and obviously for our coaching staff. So we’re looking forward to that.”
The Texans will also host the NFC East champions, the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 9. The Eagles finished their 2013 campaign with a 10-6 record and an offense that ranked fourth in the NFL, averaging 27.6 points per game. It will be a reunion of sorts as the Eagles currently hold a roster with eight former Texans players.
In Week 12, the AFC North champion Cincinnati Bengals return to Reliant Stadium, soon to be NRG Stadium, for the first time since their 19-13 Wildcard loss in January 2013. The Bengals finished 11-5 last season and with a top-ten defense that allowed just 19.1 points per game. This offseason, the Bengals signed former starting safety Danieal Manning and defensive backs coach Vance Joseph, who spent three years with the Texans in the same role.