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Four Thoughts on the Houston Texans' 2020 Schedule

Bill O'Brien will learn a lot about his team right away this season.
Bill O'Brien will learn a lot about his team right away this season.
Photo by Eric Sauseda

As we continue to trudge through the COVID-19 pandemic, with virtually no live sports, we continue to do what we can, and a big part of that is treating these live NFL offseason milestones almost as if they are live sports. So, to that end, the 2020 NFL schedule was released on Thursday night to much pomp and circumstance.

To bring it back closer to home, we have the Houston Texans 2020 schedule below, and as massive a lightning rod as Bill O'Brien has been with some of his roster building decisions (or some would say roster dismantling decisions), the first month of the season might break the camel's back when it comes to the out and out plundering of O'Brien by the fan base.

Let's get right to it. Here is the Texans' 2020 schedule:

PRESEASON
P1 Week 1: Aug. 13-17 at Minnesota
P2 Week 2: Aug. 20-24 vs Seattle
P3 Week 3: Aug. 27-30 at New Orleans
P4 Week 4: Sept. 3-4 vs Dallas

REGULAR SEASON
WEEK 1: Thursday 9/10 at Kansas City, 7:20 p.m.
WEEK 2: Sunday 9/20 vs Baltimore, 3:25 p.m.
WEEK 3: Sunday 9/27 at Pittsburgh, Noon
WEEK 4: Sunday 10.4 vs Minnesota, Noon
WEEK 5: Sunday 10/11 vs Jacksonville, Noon
WEEK 6: Sunday 10/18 at Tennessee, Noon
WEEK 7: Sunday 10/25 vs Green Bay, Noon
WEEK 8: BYE
WEEK 9: Sunday 11/8 at Jacksonville, Noon
WEEK 10: Sunday 11/15 at Cleveland, Noon
WEEK 11: Sunday 11/22 vs New England, Noon
WEEK 12: Thursday11/26 at Detroit, 11:30 (Thanksgiving Day)
WEEK 13: Sunday 11/6 vs Indianapolis, Noon
WEEK 14: Sunday 11/13 at Chicago, Noon
WEEK 15: Saturday 11/19 or Sunday 11/20, at Indianapolis, TBD
WEEK 16: Sunday 11/27 vs Cincinnati, Noon
WEEK 17: Sunday 1/3 vs Tennessee, Noon

The Texans open the season against the defending Super Bowl champions
So the Texans start their 2020 season right where their 2019 postseason died a horrific death last January, right there in Arrowhead Stadium against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. On the bright side of things, you will find out right away where the grand experiment of GM O'Brien stands, the forfeiture of DeAndre Hopkins for the new fangled "speed all over the field approach" on offense. Defensively, rookie defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver gets baptized in a big way, going against Andy Reid and the 2018 league MVP. In fact, the baptism is a month long deal for Weaver....

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The first month is just.... WOW.
The Texans go from the 2018 MVP in Mahomes to the 2019 MVP in Lamar Jackson. I mean, holy crap, right? Follow that up with the return of Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers in Pittsburgh in Week 3, and then Kirk Cousins and the Vikings in Week 4. The Texans have never beaten the Vikings in their history. The focus all season long is going to be on O'Brien and just how hot his seat gets (or perhaps, he cools it off in a big way), but Anthony Weaver is getting the ultimate "Welcome to the party, pal" first month of the season. Of the 13 starting quarterbacks on the schedule, the four best are part of the first seven games of the year. Again, WOW.

The league does not see the Texans as a prime time performer.
For the first time since 2011, the Texans don't have a single Monday night game on the schedule. (Hey, the 2011 team wound up being the best version of the Texans in team history, in my opinion, so there's that.) This is a little surprising, considering that Deshaun Watson SHOULD be viewed as one of the marquee talents in the sport, but perhaps this is what O'Brien's offseason as a GM has done to the confidence level in TV executives, as pertains to the Texans. In fact, other than the first two weeks of the season, barring some games flexed into a Sunday night spot, this is just a slew of noon kickoffs. Kind of vanilla really.

The two out of conference road games have intriguing schedule placement.
One nice little wrinkle in the schedule is that, for the first time since 2012, the Texans will be part of the Thanksgiving Day dance card, with an early kickoff against the Lions. That will be fun. The other NFC road game is about as treacherous as it gets weather-wise, as the Texans play a December 13 noon kickoff in Chicago against the Bears.

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