The first thing that jumps out at you is the four game gauntlet to begin the season. We've talked about the possibility of opening at Kansas City for a long time. I love the idea of ripping off the band-aid, going back to the scene of the playoff loss and getting an instant measuring stick against the defending champs.
When you look at it on paper, yes, having Baltimore next is daunting. But at least you get a mini-bye after the Thursday night opener to get ready for last year's top seed in the AFC.
Then it's off to Pittsburgh to deal with Ben Roethlisberger and a defense that was top five in 2019. Add in a home date against the Vikings and you have what can certainly be described as a very tough looking first quarter of the season.
Before everyone freaks out, and I'm not here to tell you this isn't a difficult stretch, I just want to remind everyone that ALL NFL games are difficult.
Remember last year when the Texans needed a late stop on a two point conversion attempt to beat the Jags? Tough. Remember Carolina? Tough. You also remember exhilarating wins against Kansas City on the road and New England at home. You never know how it's going to play out.
The second quarter has home and road dates with the Jags sandwiching a visit to Tennessee and a home tilt with the Packers, plus the bye. You'd love the bye a little later but that's nit picking (although I've picked plenty of nits in this column before).
The second half of the season kicks off with a trip to Cleveland followed by a match up with the Patriots at home. Then it's off to Detroit for Thanksgiving, bringing back memories of the 2012 Turkey day game that the Texans won deep in overtime. That gives Houston ten days to get ready for the first meeting with Indy, to lead off December.
The first trip to Soldier Field since 2012 will be the following week (brrr). Then it's off to Indianapolis followed by home games against the Bengals and Titans to finish off the regular season.
A few things –
It's an absolute honor to be in the NFL kickoff game and a great motivator for off season and preseason prep (not that they needed one).
There are no Monday night games for the first time since 2011. That was a bit odd to me.
There are no Sunday night games other than a flex possibility.
You still have a great shot at four nationally televised games (Week one, the Baltimore home game in that coveted late afternoon slot, Thanksgiving, and the final date with Indy, which could be a Saturday showcase.
The first AFC South game being in week five might seem strange but the first division game has arrived in week six three previous times ('04, '06, '14).
Every year we look at the schedule and start hypothesizing about possible wins and losses. It's a natural thing to do. But it never materializes quite the way you think it might. Can't wait.
Local artists present the Texans 2020 schedule!