Although it is certainly way too early to predict how the Houston Texans will fare next season, that is exactly what I intend on attempting in this post. By doing so, I am looking at the Texans’ 2014-2015 season with a very, very optimistic view. This means that I expect that the quarterback situation will be steady and average (if the team gets more than this there will be much praise in Houston), players like Arian Foster, Brian Cushing, and Daniael Manning to come back as healthy as possible and contribute like they did pre-injury, and for Bill O’Brien to be a great rookie head coach who can create adaptable game-plans and can win immediately. That being said, the Texans’ schedule for this upcoming season looks promising. The dates of the games are not set in stone and will not be until April, but the teams that the Texans will be playing at home and away are known. These are the teams the Texans will get at home: Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins. The away teams are as follows: Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Oakland Raiders, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants. Since the Texans did not win the AFC South this past year, they will not have to play this past season’s AFC division leaders like they did last season. This year they will get to play the NFC East and the AFC North.
Here are a view things I see from the home schedule. The Texans’ home schedule is relatively easy. The only teams that were playoff teams from last year are the Colts, Bengals, and Eagles. I am sure the Ravens will be better (although I am not sure how Gary Kubiak will fit in) and the Redskins will rebound from an injury-plagued year. Out of these home games, I expect the Texans to win six of them with the two losses coming from the Colts and the Eagles. The Texans will be a better team this year and have more talent on both sides of the ball than the Bills, Titans, Redskins, and Jaguars. These games are must wins for a team that is trying to rebound quickly. The Texans have the Bengals’ number and I do not expect that change (Andy Dalton has not been too great against the Texans) and the Ravens are a very beatable team. The Texans have a lot of trouble trying to stop Andrew Luck and this will be the first time the Texans will see Chip Kelly’s Eagles. Going 6-2 at home is extremely respectable and keeps the Texans in the playoff hunt.
As for the away games, the Texans’ schedule is also relatively easy. The Steelers are the only team out of this schedule that have an imposing home-crowd. Yes, the Texans have not ever won at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Colts, but their stadium is not raucous like the Steelers and the Terrible Towel. The Texans need to beat the Browns, Jaguars, Titans, and Raiders to get to 10 wins. As for the Cowboys, Giants, Steelers, and Colts, I think an even split among those two teams would be a winning formula for this team (especially if one of those wins is against the Cowboys). By going 12-4, the Texans would have a fantastic opportunity to get back into the playoffs and avenge the catastrophic season we all witnessed this past year. Although this record is an extremely optimistic one, it is doable. Look at the Kansas City Chiefs and what they did this past season. Granted, the Chiefs had a good veteran in Alex Smith and a coach in Andy Reid that has had previous NFL success. For the Texans to have an instant turn-around of a year, it will extremely important to see who the Texans draft, how they address the quarterback position, and how Bill O’Brien adapts to the NFL. The Texans have a fantastic opportunity to turn the state of their franchise around with this year’s schedule, so this gives Texans’ fans a glimmer of hope for the upcoming season.