LOOKING AHEAD

What to know about the 2018 Texans schedule

Bill O'Brien and Deshaun Watson will have an interesting schedule to deal with in 2018. Getty Images

The Texans already knew they had the fourth place schedule and would be facing the Browns and Broncos as well as teams from the NFC East and AFC East as well as their six games against the AFC South. Last night they found out the order and kickoff times. That’s the most important part of it.

And despite the Texans getting the easiest schedule based on win percentage from 2017, it’s not as simple as the numbers suggest.

Let’s break it all down and try and get an idea of how the schedule might determine their record.

  1. Starting on the road against 2 tough opponents.

They start Week 1 in Gillete Stadium against the New England Patriots and head to Nashville for a Week 2 divisional game against the Titans.

It’s tough to start the season on the road, it’s even tougher to start on the road against the AFC Champions. The Patriots have a pretty good record against the Texans the last few years and although they have shown vulnerability in early season games this will be a challenge for the Texans.

Follow that up with a road game against a divisional foe that made the playoffs last year and you have what could easily be an 0-2 start. It will be up to the Texans defense to slow down Tennessee’s run game and make this a low scoring affair.

  1. The next 3 out of 4 are at home and all 4 are winnable.

They come home for the Giants in week 3, who finished 2017 with 2 wins; then hit the road for their first meeting with the Colts and return to Houston for games with the Cowboys and Bills. Only the Bills made the playoffs last year but they have undergone offensive changes at the quarterback and receiver positions so an early visit to Houston may be an advantage for the Texans.

The Cowboys game is the first of three scheduled in prime time, which sets up for a nice challenge. The Texans haven’t always done well outside of Sunday afternoon, and they haven’t always done well against their in-state opponent. The schedule might work in their favor this year because it’s a home game in a stretch when the Texans should be finding their groove. The loss of Dez Bryant might hurt the Cowboys’ offense at a time when they aren’t ready for a stout defense.

  1. The Jaguars

If the Texans can somehow manage 3-4 wins in the first 6 weeks of the season they will be in a good position for their Week 7 matchup on the road in Jacksonville. Midseason is when a team should start to find its groove and figure out who they are. The Jacksonville defense will probably be playing well so it might be a low scoring game. This one could rest on the shoulders of the quarterback, if that’s the case then I will bet on Houston.

  1. The great late season push

The Texans will face the Dolphins at home on Thursday night in Week 8 and the Broncos in Denver before their week 10 bye. Both are potential wins if the team is healthy and playing at or near its potential.

After the break they have five winnable games: at Washington; home against the Titans on Monday night, then Browns and Colts; wrapped up with a road game against the Jets.

Those are seven winnable games if Houston is firing on all cylinders. It will be later in the season and injuries will probably be a factor so I am going to assume the Texans can get through this stretch with 4 or 5 wins. Houston can be in position for a wild card if everything goes well heading into the final 2 weeks of the season.

  1. The Final 2 games might be do or die

Just to make sure it’s no easy road to the playoffs for a former last place team, the scheduler left the Texans with two final games that should determine their fate.

In week 16 they hit the road to face the defending Super Bowl Champion Eagles and wrap up the season against the AFC runner-up Jacksonville Jaguars. Neither of which are considered winnable right now. This is the kind of “F You!” the NFL sometimes throws in there to keep a team who might have just gone through an off year from having a clear and easy path to the playoffs.

Just because the Texans have the fourth place schedule, and the easiest; it may not be an easy road. These final two games will most likely determine the playoff fate of the Texans. It’s only fitting that they are against some of the toughest teams. Hopefully they can get at least a split and secure a playoff spot.

Taking into account the full scope of the schedule; this looks like it might be another 9-7 season. That’s better than the 4-12 from last year, but it might not be enough to get into the playoffs and just enough to be a successful turnaround. Anything can happen and teams can play above their expectations, the Texans being one of the teams fully capable of doing so.

 This is a team loaded with talent, especially on defense; that has the potential to win more games than would have been thought. If the star players stay healthy they can ride this into a playoff spot and there they can upset the balance of the AFC postseason. It will take a lot of effort and great coaching to get there but it can be done. After all, this was a team that two years ago had the No. 1 defense, and at one-point last year had the highest scoring offense with Deshaun Watson at quarterback. If all of the cards fall into place then the Texans will be a formidable team. If there are any struggles or injuries it might be another long season that teases a playoff spot.

Now it’s just a waiting game to see what additions and subtractions help finalize the roster as we all eagerly await the opening game on Sept. 9.  


 

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Walter will host The Night of Champions. Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images.

In 2014, Austin Walter rushed for 2,704 yards and 34 touchdowns as a senior at Crosby High School. Despite falling short of a state title, Walter was named District 19-4A MVP and finished his prep career with a little over 6,000 rushing yards on 613 carries (6,062 yds). Seven years later, Walter will be returning to his high school alma mater to give back to the community that laid the foundation for an NFL career as a member of the San Francisco 49ers.

"It's a blessing to be able to come from a small town and be one of the guys who made it out," Walter said. "Not a lot of people made it to the NFL or the NBA from Crosby High School. To be one of the first, it's an amazing feeling. It's a blessing and an honor."

On Thursday, April 15, Walter will host The Night of Champions to benefit the Crosby High School Booster Club from 6-9 p.m. The event will be a weight lifting competition at Crosby High School for student-athletes around the area to showcase their talents and abilities.

In addition to hosting a weight lifting showcase, Walter will also share his life teachings with student-athletes in attendance. Perseverance and not taking no for an answer will be one of the most vital messages the Crosby native will share with aspiring pro-athletes. It's the two virtues Walter has leaned on from little league football to the NFL. And as an undrafted prospect in 2019, it was that same morale that helped him outshine six other running backs during the 49ers rookie training camp that same year.

"Before I started playing football in high school, a lot of people thought I was too small," Walter said. "They thought because we played little league and not in middle school we would not make it in high school. My twin brother [Ashton Walter] and I did not listen to that. We just kept pushing forward."

"When I left Rice, people thought I was going to play in the Canadian league or AFF, and I did not take no for an answer. I believed in myself. And I believed in God. And if I can make it out of a small town like Crosby, anybody can make it...It's the mentality I've had my entire life of not quitting. I feel like that is what got me to the point I am at right now."

Whether their life goal is to play in the NFL or not, Walter's primary objective for The Night of Champions is to be an inspiration and show kids they can find success despite their environment. It is one of the things the former XFL running back (Dallas Renegades) wished he would have seen growing up in Crosby.

After graduating from Crosby High School, Walter went on to have a record-breaking collegiate career at Rice University. He became one of two players in school history to rush for over 1,500 yards (1,744 yds.) and 1,000 kick return yards (1,548 yds.) in four seasons with the Owls. In February, Walter signed a one-year contract extension to re-join the 49ers ahead of the 2021 NFL season.

Click here to learn more about The Night of Champions at Crosby High School or support Walter and the Crosby High School Booster Club.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome