To say the Texans are in the middle of a rebuild might not do the organization justice. In many ways, they are in complete limbo at this point. The Texans used to have four star players on their team in Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins, J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. Now, only Watson remains, but he is facing off-field issues, and his future with the team is up in the air.
As such, it’s hard to say with any certainty just how the Texans will navigate their upcoming schedule. It’s going to be tough either way, but tough with Watson at the helm is one thing. Tough with Tyrod Taylor and Davis Mills at the helm? That’s another.
Also, because of poor decisions by the previous regime, the team didn’t have a lot of draft capital to upgrade their roster. They instead focused on signing as many mid-tier free agents as they could in order to build up depth and competition for starting spots on both sides of the ball. Might that work for the Texans? Possibly, but they still are a far cry from the team that so recently won a playoff game against the Buffalo Bills back in the 2020 postseason.
Here is a complete breakdown of the Texans’ 2021 schedule, including dates, start times and analysis.
Texans schedule 2021
The Texans open the season at home against the Jaguars on Sunday, Sept. 12, at 1 p.m. ET on CBS. These are the teams that they are scheduled to play during the 2021 NFL season.
|Week||Date||Opponent||Kickoff time (ET)||TV|
|1||Sept. 12||vs. Jaguars||1 p.m.||CBS|
|2||Sept. 19||at Browns||1 p.m.||CBS|
|3||Sept. 23 (Thursday)||vs. Panthers||8:20 p.m||NFLN|
|4||Oct. 3||at Bills||1 p.m.||CBS|
|5||Oct. 10||vs. Patriots||1 p.m.||CBS|
|6||Oct. 17||at Colts||1 p.m.||CBS|
|7||Oct. 24||at Cardinals||4:25 p.m.||CBS|
|8||Oct. 31||vs. Rams||1 p.m.||Fox|
|9||Nov. 7||at Dolphins||1 p.m.||Fox|
|11||Nov. 21||at Titans||1 p.m.||CBS|
|12||Nov. 28||vs. Jets||1 p.m.||CBS|
|13||Dec. 5||vs. Colts||1 p.m.||CBS|
|14||Dec. 12||vs. Seahawks||1 p.m.||Fox|
|15||Dec. 19||at Jaguars||1 p.m.||CBS|
|16||Dec. 26||vs. Chargers||1 p.m.||CBS|
|17||Jan. 2||at 49ers||4:05 p.m.||CBS|
|18||Jan. 9||vs. Titans||1 p.m.||CBS|
The Texans had one of the most brutal starts to the 2020 season of any team. Five of the first seven opponents they faced off against made the playoffs in ’20, including the Chiefs, Ravens, Steelers, Titans, and Packers. Thus, it’s no surprise that they stumbled to a 1-6 start with their only win coming over the lowly Jaguars.
Houston finished with the third-worst record in the NFL, but Bill O’Brien had traded their 2020 first-round pick to the Dolphins, so the Texans didn’t have the No. 3 overall pick to help address some of their needs.
There’s not much good news about the Texans’ schedule in ’21. They have eight games against teams that made the playoffs last year and a game against a Dolphins team that had 10 wins. Their schedule will be tough no matter how it shakes out, especially since some of the teams they’re facing, namely the Jets and 49ers, figure to be improved this year.
Texans strength of schedule
Based on last year’s records, the Texans have the 15th most difficult schedule in the NFL (.504). But as mentioned above, it could be even more difficult for them when looking ahead.
The Jets and 49ers figure to be better with new quarterbacks in the fold, and the matchup against the Patriots could also be tough. The Texans beat New England last season, so Bill Belichick will be out for revenge. His team also has a new, first-round quarterback, so the Texans may struggle with that matchup even at home.
It would surprise nobody to see the Texans struggle out of the gate again, especially after the team was largely unable to upgrade their roster due to a dearth of available resources during the 2021 offseason. And if Watson can’t play amid his off-field issues, then the Texans could bottom out.
Toughest Tests: There are a lot of tough tests for the Texans this season. Their road meetings with the Bills, Colts and Browns should be difficult, as those three playoff teams from last year have only improved their squads in various areas during the offseason. With the Texans only continuing to regress, they’ll have trouble against those teams, especially in the hostile environments of Buffalo and Cleveland.
At home, things are a bit better. Still, facing the well-rounded Rams won’t be easy for their lackluster defense. The same can be said of the Russell Wilson-led Seahawks. As mentioned, the Patriots could prove to be troublesome for them as well. The Texans ranked dead-last in the NFL in run defense last season, and the Patriots figure to be a ground-dominant team with Damien Harris, Rhamondre Stevenson and Sony Michel in the fold along with two TEs.
Biggest Breaks: In truth, there aren’t a lot of breaks on the Texans’ schedule. Hosting the Jaguars, Jets and Panthers probably figure to be the three easiest games on their schedule this year. Both the Jaguars and Jets are trusting rookie quarterbacks who are talented but will be getting adjusted to the NFL. Additionally, neither team has a very good defense, so the Texans at least stand a chance.
Meanwhile, the Panthers have a better overall team, but Sam Darnold hasn’t been a solid starter at QB to kickstart his career. If he struggles as he adapts to the Panthers’ system, that could position the Texans to steal a game. But still, these games aren’t gimmes.
Bottom Line: There’s not much to like about the Texans’ schedule. It’s not the toughest in the NFL, but the Texans are one of the worst teams in the league. As such, it will be hard for them to compete with most teams, let alone when half of the games on their schedule are against teams that made the playoffs last year.
Maybe David Culley will find a way to get the most out of this Texans crew. Maybe Nick Caserio’s free agency wheeling and dealing will make a difference. Still, at the end of the day, the Texans just aren’t a good team right now, so you’re not going to find many winnable games on their schedule.
Record Prediction: 2-15