Texans' 2010 schedule released

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The Texans learned today they'll begin their 2010 season at home against the Indianapolis Colts, their AFC South rival and the defending AFC champions, and will have a team-record three games in prime time.

Their 2010 schedule includes two Monday Night Football games and one Thursday night game. The Texans' bye will be in Week 7, and their much-anticipated home game against the Dallas Cowboys will kick off at noon CT in Week 3.

"I think we've got a dang good football team and if we keep working the way we've been working, we're going to have our chance to win every week if we play good football," said Texans coach Gary Kubiak, whose team is coming off a 9-7 season. "So I'm more concerned about us, but it's a very challenging schedule and a big division opener to start."

The Texans previously had never had more than two nationally-televised games in one season (2005). Their first Monday night game in 2010 will be at Indianapolis on Nov. 1, and their second will be at home against the Baltimore Ravens on Dec. 13. The Texans will be at the Philadelphia Eagles for a Dec. 2 Thursday night game, which will be televised on the NFL Network.

"You have to earn those (prime-time games)," Kubiak said. "People want to put your team in that situation because good things are going on. That's a compliment to our players, and it does present some challenges with a Thursday nighter in there because it makes your schedule change a little bit. But that's why you play this game, for opportunities to be in the big spotlight, and our team will get its chance."

Kubiak said that the 11-day gap between the Eagles and Ravens games will be like having another bye week late in the season. The weekend of Dec. 5 following the Eagles game will be six weeks after the Texans' Oct. 24 bye.

{QUOTE}One of the hottest tickets on the Texans' schedule will be their Sept. 26 game against the Cowboys. The two teams haven't met at Reliant Stadium since the Texans' 19-10 upset in the first game in franchise history in 2002. The Texans also will face the Cowboys at Reliant Stadium on Aug. 28 in their third game of the preseason.

"That's obviously a big rival here in the state of Texas," said Kubiak, a Houston native. "The interesting thing is that we're basically going to play them twice over the span of about five weeks, so that's unusual. I haven't been a part of that before. But they're a great football team coming off a good playoff appearance this past year and are going to be strong again, so I know it's something that our city is looking forward to and our team is, too."

Four of the Texans' first six games will be at home. It's a balanced schedule – at no point in the season will the Texans play more than two consecutive games at home or on the road.

It's also the toughest schedule in the NFL, based on opponents' records from last season. In addition to six division games, the Texans will play the Ravens, New York Jets and teams from the NFC East and AFC West – a slate that includes seven games against 2009 playoff teams.

Per a new league policy, every game in the final week of the season will be between division rivals. The Texans will face the Jacksonville Jaguars at Reliant Stadium in Week 17.

Along with division games in Weeks 1 and 17, two storyline-rich matchups highlight opposite ends of the Texans' schedule. The Texans will play at Denver, the former NFL home of Kubiak and many of his Texans assistants, in Week 16. In Week 2, the Texans are at Washington to face a Redskins team led by Kubiak's former mentor, Mike Shanahan, and former Texans offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.

"Mike's been very active in the offseason, and I think they're going to have a fine, fine football team," Kubiak said. "First things first – we'll go with the Colts first, and then we'll get ready to go to Washington."

Follow Nick Scurfield on Twitter at *twitter.com/NickScurfield or find him on the "I'm A Texan Club" at imatexan.com/profiles/Nick_Scurf/.*

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