HOUSTON -- We already knew that the Houston Texans were in for a long season due to the Deshaun Watson fiasco. Now, upon NFL schedule reflection, things might be even bleaker than before.
Houston is entering the season with a brand new roster and a coaching staff. They also are entering a 17-game season, a new first for the NFL. That means rookies will have less time to prove themselves in the preseason, but more time to develop in games that count.
For the Texans, it's about playing better than the season prior. Coach David Culley and GM Nick Caserio are hopeful that with the roster at hand, it'll be enough to compete in 2021. In reality, it's likely going to set Houston up for a lofty pick in 2022's NFL Draft.
Here's an early outlook at the Texans' 2021 season with predictions:
Week 1: Sept. 12: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, 12:00 P.M. (CBS)
The good news is Trevor Lawrence and Urban Meyer will be playing in their first NFL game on the road. It should be enough for Houston and Culley to start the season off on the right note.
Score: Houston 20, Jacksonville 14 (1-0)
Week 2: Sept. 19: at Cleveland Browns, 12:00 p.m. (CBS)
This won't be as easy with a road trip to face Baker Mayfield and one of the best rushing offenses in the league. Houston improved the defensive line, but Cleveland improved just about everything.
Score: Browns 35, Texans 14 (1-1)
Week 3: Sept. 23: vs. Carolina Panthers, 7:20 p.m. (NFL Network)
Not only is Sam Darnold a better quarterback than Tyrod Taylor, but Carolina used its draft to build around him. Houston might make this a game because of Carolina's weak defense, but a short week after facing Cleveland gives the Panthers an edge.
Score: Panthers, 28, Texans 21 (1-2)
Week 4: Oct. 3: at Buffalo Bills, 12:00 p.m.
Josh Allen was a near-MVP last season and the Bills have one of the best pass defenses in the league. Keep in mind that the AFC East franchise is out for revenge thanks to the AFC Wild Card Round of 2019. Good luck, Taylor or Davis Mills.
Score: Bills 34, Texans 10 (1-3)
Week 5: Oct. 10: vs. New England Patriots, 12:00 p.m,
This could be the game where Mills officially takes over under center. Houston would have the home-field advantage, but QB play will decide the outcome. Right now, Cam Newton over Taylor seems the more logical answer.
Score: Patriots 31, Texans 21 (1-4)
Week 6: Oct. 17: at Indianapolis Colts, 12:00 p.m.
Houston lost two close games to the Colts last season only because Watson balled out. Houston lost Watson and the Colts got a young quarterback in Carson Wentz to replace Philip Rivers. Indianapolis should have this on defense alone.
Score: Colts 37, Texans 14 (1-5)
Week 7: Oct. 24: at Arizona Cardinals, 3:25 p.m.
Even though the new regime has nothing to do with them, DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt will consider this a revenge game. Without a No. 1 cornerback, expect Hopkins to post record-setting numbers against the Texans' defense.
Score: Cardinals 42, Texans 14 (1-6)
Week 8: Oct. 31: vs. Los Angeles Rams, 3:25 p.m.
Matthew Stafford watched the Texans beat his Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving. With a better team and better weapons, he'll be attacking early and often against Houston's secondary.
Score: Rams 34, Texans 14 (1-7)
Week 9: Nov. 7: at Miami Dolphins, 12:00 p.m.
Tua Tagovailoa is hoping to show he is the franchise quarterback. After finishing 10-6 last season, the Dolphins aren't going to settle losing to lesser opponents.
Score: Dolphins 30, Texans 20 (1-8)
Week 10: Bye Week
Week 11: Nov. 21: at Tennessee Titans, 12:00 p.m.
With two weeks to prepare, there's no excuse for Mills not to start. This comes down to location and run defense. Should this game be played in Houston, maybe you could see them sticking around. Too bad it's in Nashville and Derrick Henry will be looking for the triple crowns.
Score: Titans 27, Texans 17 (1-9)
Week 12: Nov. 28: vs. New York Jets, 12:00 p.m.
An East Coast trip and holes offensively finally give the Texans a win. Mill should be able to show the ups and downs of being a franchise quarterback, and Houston should have a better luck on what direction they will go in the draft.
Score: Texans 27, Jets 17 (2-9)
Week 13: Dec. 5: vs. Indianapolis Colts, 12:00 p.m.
Let's go with the surprise pick. Mills might be able to show some bit of development, and against the top level defense like Indianapolis, that will be the push he needs. Everything comes down to Carson Wentz for the Colts. Let's just say he has a bad game and Houston has a winning streak for the first time in nearly two years.
Score: Texans 23, Colts 21 (3-9)
Week 14: Dec. 12 vs. Seattle Seahawks, 12:00 p.m.
Russell Wilson should be in MVP mode at this point of the year. Although the Texans might have the momentum and home-field advantage, they're winning streak ends that Sunday afternoon to No. 3.
Score: Seahawks 38, Texans 17 (3-10)
Week 15: Dec. 19 at Jacksonville Jaguars, 12:00 p.m.
No matter how you look at it, this is going to be an ugly game. However, Lawrence though will have two months of NFL experience under his belt. If he truly is he can't-miss gem, this should end the losing streak for Jacksonville against Houston.
Score: Jaguars 20, Houston 10 (3-11)
Week 16: Dec. 26 vs. Los Angeles Chargers, 12;00 p.m.
Justin Herbert is looking to show he is the next All-Pro quarterback. He'll get the opportunity to torch Houston's secondary as an extra Christmas gift for the few fans the franchise has.
Score: Chargers 41, Texans 21 (3-12)
Week 17: Jan. 2 at San Francisco 49ers, 3:05 p.m.
This might be a rookie vs rookie battle as Trey Lance could see action against the non-playoff caliber Texans. If losing Robert Saleh was that painful, Houston at least could make this interesting. Plus, Mills returns close to Palo Alto, so he will at least try to put up the best numbers of his career in front of his former fans.
Score: 49ers 24, Texans 21 (3-13)
Week 18: Jan. 9 vs. Tennessee Titans, 12:00 p.m.
At this point, there's a good shot Tennessee has either clinched the AFC South or at least a wild-card spot. Expect most of the starters to be sitting, allowing Houston to end the year on a positive note.
Technically it's not a worse season that 2020, so at least fans can enjoy that.
Score: Texans 28, Titans 17 (4-13)
Final Record: 4-13 (4th in the AFC South)
CONTINUE READING: Texans Owner McNair Reveals Thoughts On Houston's 'New Approach'