An old coach once told me "You never know how a schedule will play out."
As we look at the order of events for 2023, the drama kicks into high gear instantly as the Texans open on the road in a place where they haven't won. Yet.
• With the Texans starting the season at Baltimore, this makes it only eight road openers in the 22-year history of the franchise. The last six road openers have all been against sure-fire or potential Hall of Fame quarterbacks.
2008 vs Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers
2013 vs Phillip Rivers and the Chargers
2018 vs Tom Brady and the Patriots
2019 vs Drew Brees and the Saints
2020 vs Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs
2023 vs Lamar Jackson and the Ravens
• Going into '23 the Texans have only won two season openers on the road – Miami in '03 and San Diego in '13. Let's hope for some ten-year symmetry in '23 as Houston visits Baltimore for the first time since 2019.
The Ravens will have Lamar Jackson back and they've improved the offense. This will be a tough opener for the DeMeco Ryans era and the only time in Texans history that a head coach has had to play his debut on the road. Dom Capers, Gary Kubiak, Bill O'Brien, David Culley and Lovie Smith all got to coach their debut games at home. They were a combined 3-1-1.
• The home opener against the Colts, Week 2, will be electric. It could be a showdown of rookie quarterbacks. In any case, the fans will be juiced to see the '23 version of the Texans for the first time. The Texans also close the regular season at Indy.
Three of the last four games are against the division, with a visit to Tennessee on December 17, a week earlier than last year's win, and a home date with the Titans on New Years Eve. The Texans face the defending AFC South champs in Jacksonville September 24 and at home November 26, both in the guts of the schedule. Interesting fact: The Texans are 5-1 vs the AFC South on the road in the last two years.
• This is the first time since 2006, DeMeco Ryans' rookie year, that the Texans have not had a prime-time game. It's only the third season ever that they're not scheduled to be under the lights. Flex scheduling is always a possibility.
• We knew the Texans would play the NFC South but we didn't know the games would happen consecutively, from the Falcons game in Atlanta on Oct 8 at NRG Stadium to Tampa Bay coming to NRG Stadium on November 5.
• The bye is week 7, one week later than last year.
• This is the most noon starts (every game but Denver, Dec 3 in Houston) that the Texans have had since 2011. That year they were coming off a 6-10 campaign and got the one obligatory Thursday night NFL Network spot. They also had their greatest season to date, so there's that.
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