The Texans have four prime time games

Texans 2019 schedule announced

Texans 2019 schedule announced
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The Houston Texans will play this schedule in 2019:

Week 1 - Texans at Saints - Monday Night Football - September 9

What a start! This will be the first of what is typically two Monday Night Football matchups. It will also feature the "A" Monday Night Football crew with Sean McDonough, Booger Mcfarland, and whoever replaces Jason Witten. It's the first trip to New Orleans since 2011 and the first game against the Saints since 2015.

Week 2 - Texans vs Jaguars - September 15

Houston gets to see new AFC South mainstay Nick Foles early in the year. It also means a likely healthy Jaguars team for the Texans to play against as well. Without much talent at wideout Foles might not be meshing with his pass catchers yet but the Texans hopefully new offensive line will be tested early.

Week 3 - Texans at Chargers - September 22

The first and what should be the last trip to the least advantageous home field advantage in football. The next time the Texans go on the road against the Chargers it should be in their fancy new stadium. This one will be in a soccer stadium. Fans not withstanding, the Chargers will be a tough out with Philip Rivers, Melvin Gordon, and Keenan Allen leading the way for the Bolts offense. They will also be wearing their Chargers powder blues as a home uniform. The last time the Texans played on the road against the Chargers was Monday Night Football to open the 2013 season. Brian Cushing, now a coach for the Texans, had an interception return for a touchdown.

Week 4 - Texans vs Panthers - September 29

Cam Newton has never lost to the Texans, including his rookie year visit in 2011. This could also be a rebuilt offensive line coming into NRG stadium as well. Newton had a bounce-back season in 2018 after a down year in 2017. If he's healthy this will be a tough game.

Week 5 - Texans vs Falcons - October 6

The last time Bill O'Brien's Texans played the Falcons it was one of the worst losses in franchise history. This time should be different and has shootout potential. This is also a potential landing spot for Houston's Ed Oliver that would be a fun homecoming.

Week 6 - Texans at Chiefs - October 13

How this game isn't primetime is beyond me. The Lions-Packers is Monday Night Football and the Chargers-Steelers is Sunday Night Football. Neither pairing is better than this game's potential. A showdown with the reigning MVP and one of Deshaun Watson's fellow first round QB's in Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs had one of the most dynamic offenses ever but Kareem Hunt is now in Cleveland and Tyreek Hill's status is up in the air. It will also feature an opportunity for Deshaun Watson to light up his former teammate Tyrann Mathieu. The last time the Texans played the Chiefs J.J. Watt broke his leg and Whitney Mercilus tore his pectoral in a shootout loss.

Week 7 - Texans at Colts - October 20

Andrew Luck and the Colts were better than the Texans in all three games last season even though they didn't win all three. They stopped the Texans in the playoffs and there's no reason to think they won't be the favorites early in the AFC South.

Week 8 - Texans vs Raiders - October 27

The hope would have been getting the Raiders earlier having it be a better matchup considering they will be working in so many new faces. The faces should be settled by now though so no advantage there. The Raiders last played at NRG in a playoff game where Brock Osweiler dueled Connor Cook.

Week 9 - Texans at Jaguars in London at Wembley Stadium - November 3

This is the Texans first trip across the pond. The Jaguars have played there plenty so you have to imagine they have a slight logistical advantage. It will be interesting to see when the Texans head over if they spend a whole week there or just a few days.

Week 10 - BYE - November 10

Bill O'Brien has almost always had his bye week in the middle of the season. The earliest it has come with O'Brien as the head coach is week seven. Also, having the bye week after London has to help a ton.

Week 11 - Texans at Ravens - November 17

A nice opponent coming out of the bye week. If Lamar Jackson has anything of substance as a quarterback it will be well known by now. Tom Savage was the quarterback the last time the Texans played the Ravens in 2017.

Week 12 - Texans vs Colts - Thursday Night Football - November 21

Not ideal to be playing on Thursday after a traditionally hard-nosed defense was the previous opponent. With a division matchup like this coming so late in the season, this could be a key game in the standings and a difference-maker in who wins the Division. It also could establish a tone out of the bye week should they beat Baltimore and take care of the Colts here.

Week 13 - Texans vs Patriots - Sunday Night Football - December 1

This doesn't feel like the best spot in the schedule. The Patriots are 61-11 in December with Bill Belichick calling the shots. The Texans have beat the Patriots once, 2010, in franchise history.

Week 14 - Texans vs Broncos - December 8

If the Broncos have a rookie quarterback after this year's draft I would expect they are starting here. The Texans have had lots of success against rookies in recent years.

Week 15 - Texans at Titans - December 15

A late appearance for the Titans and then you see them again in two weeks. This late in the season Mariota will probably already be hurt so the Texans may miss him. Of course, Blaine Gabbert the Titans backup beat them last year in Tennessee.

Week 16 - Texans at Buccaneers - December 21 or 22

This game could be on Saturday or Sunday depending on how the schedule shakes out. Jamies Winston at this point will have either played himself into the job or Bruce Arians will be scouring the college ranks for his next quarterback. This could be a bad team by the time the Texans play them or it could be a team that is surprisingly good. It will all depend on Winston. A Ryan Mallett led Texans beat the Buccaneers in 2015.

Week 17 - Texans vs Titans - December 29

It is nice to end the season at home and if the Titans are in contention this is a potential Sunday Night Football flex finale game.

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Have the Astros turned the corner? Photo by Jack Gorman/Getty Images.

One presumes the Chicken Littles have stopped clucking about the Astros’ season being a goner, or if not gone, on life support. It wasn’t when they were 7-19. It wasn’t when they were 12-24. It certainly isn’t now that they’ve won six straight games and eight of their last nine. Another three or four weeks of inept play could have doomed them, but the worm has turned. A 20-25 record is no cause for celebration, but it has the Astros within four games of first place. Yes, getting to play the A’s four times this week helped. And?

I detailed the schedule issue on our Stone Cold ‘Stros podcast this week. The Astros were flat lousy for the season’s first six weeks. But… Starting the week the Astros had played a whopping 32 of their 40 games against teams with a winning record as of Monday. The Seattle Mariners had played 23 such games, the Texas Rangers only 16. The Philadelphia Phillies have been sensational so far and are fully legit. But… The Phillies entered the weekend having played three games vs. teams now sporting a winning record. Three! Out of 45 games. Going into this weekend's series only the Blue Jays, White Sox, and Angels had played more games against winning teams than had the Astros. It’s not mere coincidence that the Blue Jays, White Sox, and Angels are the three last place teams in the American League. The Astros were not up to the challenge of their first quarter schedule, but by no means did it render them dead, particularly in the thus far Mild, Mild, American League West.

A good Brewers team visits Minute Maid Park for three games this weekend. The Astros beat their best starter Friday night. Next the Astros get the pathetic Angels here for three before a three-game series at Oakland. Meanwhile the West leading Mariners start a ten-game road trip this weekend: three at the excellent Orioles, four at the excellent Yankees, three at the respectable Nationals. The Astros stand a good chance of overtaking the M’s by the end of this month if they can win the four-game series they open Memorial Day in Seattle.

Meanwhile, the Texas Rangers snapped a five game losing streak Wednesday to eke back over .500 at 23-22. The reigning World Series champs hope to get somewhat well vs. the Angels in Arlington this weekend but dropped the series opener to drop back to .500. For their sake they better because the Rangers then hit the road for Philadelphia and Minnesota.

Naturally, many Astros fans are upset with Ronel Blanco serving a 10 game suspension for illegally using whatever substance on his glove and non-pitching hand. The suspension is basically automatic. The suspension is also not a big problem. Blanco has been fantastic since getting a starting rotation spot only because of Justin Verlander’s delayed start to his season. It’s said that all life owes us is opportunity. Man, did Blanco seize his. With just seven big league starts to his name before entering this season as a 30-year old, Blanco has made eight this season with a sparkling 2.09 earned run average. So, what’s that about the suspension is not a big problem?

Blanco will miss one start and have another pushed back a day or two. That’s just not a big deal. In fact it may be helpful in the bigger picture. With last year being the first time in his professional career that Blanco topped 100 innings pitched (125 1/3), the Astros need to be wary of Blanco’s workload which is on pace to blow past last year’s career-high innings total. J.P. France probably pitched over his head for a while last year, but went well past his prior career-high innings total and faded badly. Cristian Javier was tremendous in 2022 while pitching more than in any previous year, but he pitched even more in 2023 and faded badly.

Alex Bregman lives! After being nearly inconceivably inept through the first quarter of the season, the Alex awakening in the Oakland series was not shocking but most welcomed. Over his first 37 games Bregman had a paltry seven extra base hits. Even with a feeble .201 batting average and .534 OPS, that Bregman had scored just eight runs over those 37 games was hard to believe. Then Monday and Tuesday saw five extra base hits and four runs scored.

In a trade not commanding any headlines, Dana Brown Wednesday sent outfielder Corey Julks to the White Sox for 20-year-old low minor league pitcher Luis Rodriguez. There is now no reason to call it a great Astros trade but Brown made a smart deal. Julks had no future here, hence he would have been released if no deal was struck. Taking a flyer on a young arm can’t hurt. Frankly, the White Sox are dumb to trade a young arm of any promise whatsoever for a 28-year-old outfielder with limited value. Julks was a nice story for parts of last season. The Clear Brook High School grad and UH product had a couple windows of production, highlighted by a sizzling nine game 17 for 34 stretch straddling June and July. Alas, not two weeks later Julks began what would become an 0 for 36 nightmare. He was sent to the minors for good in late-August.

*Catch our weekly Stone Cold ‘Stros podcast. Brandon Strange, Josh Jordan, and I discuss varied Astros topics. The first post for the week generally goes up Monday afternoon (second part released Tuesday) via The SportsMap HOU YouTube channel or listen to episodes in their entirety at Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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