Texans learn 2011 schedule

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The Houston Texans' 2011 season schedule was released today and features home dates against three playoff teams from a year ago, including the defending AFC Champion Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 2. Houston opens and closes the 2011 season at Reliant Stadium against AFC South rivals Indianapolis and Tennessee and will face 2010 playoff participants New Orleans, Baltimore and Indianapolis on the road.

Nearly half the Texans' road schedule will be played in Florida, with games at Miami (Sept. 18), Tampa Bay (Nov. 13) and Jacksonville (Nov. 27) being in the Sunshine State. The Texans will have at least one prime time game, squaring off against AFC South rival Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium on Thursday, Dec. 22, on NFL Network.

Houston's opponents had a combined record of 132-124 in 2010 for a winning percentage of .516. That ties the Texans with the Miami Dolphins and Minnesota Vikings for the 10th-toughest schedule in the league based on last year's results.

The Texans open the season at home for the fifth time in six years under head coach Gary Kubiak, taking on defending AFC South Champion Indianapolis on Sept. 11. Houston also opened the 2010 season at home against Indianapolis and set a team rushing record behind 231 yards from All-Pro RB Arian Foster in a 34-24 win. Houston is 4-5 in season openers and 3-3 in season openers at home.

Houston then heads to the road for two weeks, playing at Miami in Week 2 and at New Orleans in Week 3. The Texans are 5-0 all-time against the Dolphins, including a pair of wins on Miami's home field. New Orleans will play host to the Texans in the regular season for the first time since 2003 on Sept. 25. The two teams also will play each other in the second week of the preseason at Reliant Stadium.

Four of Houston's next six games will be played at home, beginning with games against Pittsburgh (Oct. 2) and Oakland (Oct. 9). It will mark the sixth straight season the Raiders and Texans have played, and the seventh time in the last eight seasons. The Texans hold a 5-1 series advantage against Oakland.

The Texans will look to avenge a pair of 2010 losses in Week 6 at Baltimore (Oct. 16) and Week 7 at Tennessee (Oct. 23). Houston's 2010 matchup with Baltimore was a memorable one that saw the Texans overcome a 21-point second-half deficit to force overtime on Monday Night Football, ultimately ending with a 34-28 overtime win by the Ravens. Tennessee's revamped coaching staff includes four coaches who either played or coached for the Texans.

Week 8 features a visit from Jacksonville on Oct. 30, followed by a home game against Cleveland on Nov. 6. The Texans closed out the 2010 season with a 34-17 win against the Jaguars, and their nine wins all-time against their AFC South rival are their most against any single team. Houston has won three of its last four games against Cleveland, holding the Browns to less than 20 points in each of those contests.

The Texans travel to Tampa Bay on Nov. 13 for their first regular season game at Raymond James Stadium since 2003. The Buccaneers and Texans have met in the preseason or regular season each year of Houston's existence.

Houston's Week 11 bye is the latest open date in franchise history and is followed by its second meeting against Jacksonville in less than a month in Week 12. The Texans will make an attempt at their first road win against the Jaguars since 2006.

The Week 13 matchup against Atlanta at Reliant Stadium will feature two of the NFL's best receivers. Texans WR Andre Johnson (4,360 yards) and Falcons WR Roddy White (3,925) rank first and second in the NFL, respectively, in receiving yards since 2008. Houston will look for its third-straight win in its series against Cincinnati on Dec. 11, facing the Bengals on the road in Week 14.

The Carolina Panthers, who own the top pick in the 2011 draft, visit Reliant Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 18. Houston scored 34 unanswered points in a 34-20 win the last time the teams met in 2007.

Houston will close its road slate in prime time against the Colts in Week 16 before playing host to Tennessee on New Year's Day 2012 in its sixth-straight home season finale. While the Texans and Titans have split their last six meetings, Houston head coach Gary Kubiak's team is 5-0 in season finales.

The NFL will continue to implement flexible scheduling for Week 11-17 to ensure the best matchups of the week. The NFL has the option to inform teams 12 days in advance that their Sunday afternoon game will switch to Sunday night and will be aired on NBC at 7:15 p.m. The Texans' home game against Carolina in Week 15 and the Thursday night game at Indianapolis in Week 16 will not change. **

HOUSTON TEXANS 2011 SCHEDULE **

PRESEASON

DayDateOpponentTime (CT)TV
Monday8/15NEW YORK JETS7 p.m.ESPN
Saturday8/20NEW ORLEANS SAINTS7 p.m.KTRK
Saturday8/27at San Francisco 49ers7 p.m.KTRK
Thursday9/1at Minnesota Vikings7 p.m.KTRK

REGULAR SEASON

DayDateOpponentTime (CT)TV
Sunday9/11INDIANAPOLIS COLTSNoonCBS
Sunday9/18at Miami Dolphins3:15 p.m.CBS
Sunday9/25at New Orleans SaintsNoonCBS
Sunday10/2PITTSBURGH STEELERSNoonCBS
Sunday10/9OAKLAND RAIDERSNoonCBS
Sunday10/16at Baltimore Ravens3:05 p.m.CBS
Sunday10/23at Tennessee TitansNoonCBS
Sunday10/30JACKSONVILLE JAGUARSNoonCBS
Sunday11/6CLEVELAND BROWNSNoonCBS
Sunday11/13at Tampa Bay BuccaneersNoonCBS
Sunday11/20BYE WEEK
Sunday11/27at Jacksonville JaguarsNoonCBS
Sunday12/4ATLANTA FALCONSNoonFOX
Sunday12/11at Cincinnati BengalsNoonCBS
Sunday12/18CAROLINA PANTHERSNoonFOX
Thursday12/22at Indianapolis Colts7:20 p.m.NFLN
Sunday1/1TENNESSEE TITANSNoonCBS

Home games in BOLDGames subject to flexible scheduling in Italics
All games are broadcast live on 100.3 KILT FMand SportsRadio 610 AM
Spanish broadcasts are on La Tremenda 1010 AM

To purchase 2011 tickets, click here.

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