Even though we already knew the opponents of 2021, there's something about seeing the order of events that gets the blood pumping. Getting the appointments on the calendar gives them amplified meaning and makes me want to run through a wall to get to August.
There are several things to consider as you look at the schedule. First of all, a shout out to the crew at NRG that's scrambling to find hotels for these road games. This is harder than you think. Conventions and weddings and such are often booked years in advance and when the team travels they need almost every inch of meeting and banquet room space that most hotels have. I know it sounds minor but I always think of this task.
Now, back to football…
An old coach once told me that you never know how a schedule will play out. Isn't that the truth!
Remember 2009? The Texans had what looked like a palatable schedule. They started 1-2 and eventually went 1-5 in the division yet somehow came up with their first winning season at 9-7.
In 2019, they faced a firing squad of great quarterbacks and responded with wins against Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, Phillip Rivers and a close-but-no-cigar loss to Drew Brees.
It's easy to stare at the NFL brand names on the slate and make assumptions, but each week presents its own test and every team can look and be very different by the time you play them.
This schedule reminds me a bit of the 2011 docket. Coming off a 6-10 season, the league didn't give the Texans any prime time games except for the requisite Thursday nighter.
This one is similar in that all the home games are noon starts, with the only prime time game being a Week 3 Thursday night showdown with Carolina.
The 2011 season turned out to be the Texans best-ever. Houston started 3-3 and reeled off seven straight after that, on the way to a 10-6 finish. I'm not here to predict anything. This team has undergone too many changes to even accurately forecast a depth chart, never mind a record.
The '21 Texans will have the element of surprise on their side though. With a new coaching staff and so many new players, the Jaguars are going to have an interesting time scouting Houston for the week one match-up at NRG.
Another thing I always look at with the schedule release is the possibility of inclement weather games. There don't appear to be any… But wait! – at San Francisco on January 2nd. Mark Twain once said: "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."
Well, the coldest New Year's Day I ever spent might have been at Candlestick Park in 2006! It was 56 degrees, but the wind was blowing almost 30 mph and it felt like Soldier Field.
Also, at the Jags on December 19. I remember we were there on December 26, 2004 and the wind chill factor made it feel like 30 degrees. Not exactly chamber of commerce weather for North Florida. The point is that you never know!
I like that the road dates with the Colts and Titans are in the front half of the year. And that the Bye is basically at the mid-way point. Oh, and that the Buffalo game is in early October.
Let's play ball!
Check out all of the stadiums the Houston Texans will visit throughout the 2021 NFL Season.