The 2021 NFL schedule has officially been released, and it's a tough run-in for the Houston Texans for the first-ever 17-game regular season.
At Green Bay Packers, Aug. 14, 7:00 P.M.
At Dallas Cowboys, TBD, TBD
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Aug. 28, 7:00 P.M.
1 - Jacksonville Jaguars, Sept. 12, Noon
2 - At Cleveland Browns, Sept. 19, Noon
3 - Carolina Panthers, Sept. 23, 7:20 P.M.
4 - At Buffalo Bills, Oct. 3, Noon
5 - New England Patriots, Oct. 10, Noon
6 - At Indianapolis Colts, Oct. 17, Noon
7 - At Arizona Cardinals, Oct. 24, 3:25 P.M.
8 - Los Angeles Rams, Oct. 31, Noon
9 - At Miami Dolphins, Nov. 7, Noon
10 - BYE
11 - At Tennessee Titans, Nov. 21, Noon
12 - New York Jets, Nov. 28, Noon
13 - Indianapolis Colts, Dec. 5, Noon
14 - Seattle Seahawks, Dec. 12, Noon
15 - At Jacksonville Jaguars, Dec. 19, Noon
16 - Los Angeles Chargers, Dec. 26, Noon
17 - At San Francisco 49ers, Jan. 2, 3:05 P.M.
18 - Tennessee Titans, Jan. 9, Noon
The Texans will be opening their season against the first overall pick, and one of the most anticipated rookie quarterbacks in recent memory, Trevor Lawrence, as they host the Jacksonville Jaguars. This will also mark the debuts for both head coaches David Culley of the Texans and Urban Meyer with the Jags.
Week 2 will be Houston's first road game as they head for Cleveland to face the Browns, who are fresh off of an impressive playoff run. One familiar face to watch out for will be the former first overall pick with the Houston Texans Jadeveon Clowney, who signed with the Browns this offseason and should form a potent partnership on that defense with Myles Garrett.
Returning to Houston, the Texans host their only primetime game of the season when they face the Carolina Panthers. Much like the Texans, the Panthers are also expected to feature a number of new faces on offense with former New York Jet Sam Darnold the presumptive QB1, and nine rookies currently signed on offense.
It's then back on the road for Houston as they make the long journey up to one of head coach David Culley's former teams in Buffalo to face the Super Bowl hopeful Bills, currently led by one of the league's premier passers in Josh Allen.
Week 5 features a fixture the Texans have had a tough time with since their inception in the Patriots, Houston having lost eight of their 11 matchups to date. That being said, the Texans did beat New England in 2020 which kicked off their only back-to-back wins of the season.
The Texans then head out for two straight road games, the first in Indianapolis, where they'll face another potential Super Bowl favorite in the now Carson Wentz-led Colts for the first of their regular-season matchups.
They will then head over to the Arizona Cardinals in what has to be one of, if not the most anticipated game of the season for Texans fans who will see Houston facing off against two of their former stars in wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and defensive end J.J. Watt.
After what will surely be an emotional rollercoaster at the University of Phoenix Stadium for Texans fans, Houston then returns home to host the LA Rams on Halloween.
Fun fact: The last time Houston played now-Rams QB Matthew Stafford was last Thanksgiving, when the Texans won 41-25.
Anyway, Week 9 sees the Texans head to South Beach to face coach Brian Flores' Miami Dolphins, where we'll get to see how another pair of former Texans stars are doing in the shape of wide receiver Will Fuller and linebacker Benardrick McKinney, who both joined this offseason.
Week 10 will serve as Houston's bye week, and this means the Texans will play nine games, then break, and then finish off with a further eight games ... which should split the season up nicely and evenly for players and coaching staff.
They then head to Tennessee to play former Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel's Titans. A key player to watch here will once again be running back Derrick Henry, who rushed for 2,027 yards during the 2020 regular season.
Fun fact: In 10 games against the Texans, Henry has rushed for a total of 1,035 yards and nine touchdowns. But you never know, perhaps it'll be 11th time's the charm for Houston's rushing defense.
Houston then returns home for the first of three straight games at NRG Stadium to host the New York Jets and second overall pick QB Zach Wilson and first-time head coach Robert Saleh, who coached for the Texans from 2005 to 2010.
The Texans then host the Colts in Week 13, followed by the Seahawks the next week - a team the Texans have only beaten once in four matchups to date.
It's then back to the road as the Texans head back to Florida to play the Jaguars once more, followed by a home game against the LA Chargers. The Chargers should be a team Houston can prepare for thoroughly given that both QB coach Pep Hamilton and offensive line coach James Campen were on their staff last year.
Houston then heads out for their final away game of the year against the San Francisco 49ers, a matchup which like the Seahawks, the Texans have only won once.
Come Week 18 and the Texans will close off their regular season by hosting the Titans in what could prove to be a key game for the fate of the AFC South.
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