For the first seven games of this recent Texans' winning streak, it felt like every win came with caveats from large portions of the fan base and local media. Against the Colts, Cowboys, and Bills, they needed catastrophic coaching or passing errors by the opponent to open the door to victory. Against the Jaguars and Dolphins, they just beat Blake Bortles and Brock Osweiler. Big deal, the nitpickers would say.
Against the Broncos and the Redskins, the Texans ended those games with the opposing placekicker missing a field goal, so those games were deemed "coin flips" that Houston won. With a 17-point win over Tennessee and a 16-point win over the Browns, the Texans finally got their well-deserved respect from fans — in the midst of a winning streak that should be savored, something I've been doing for about five games now.
Welcome to the party, everybody! And now that you're savoring this winning streak along with me (hopefully), let me give you another reason to, as REO Speedwagon once said, live every moment and love every daaaaayyyy with this team — the 2019 regular season slate of opponents.
You see, one of the nice things about the NFL, is that you can, with near perfect accuracy, forecast your team's schedule (14 of the games, at least) in perpetuity. It's a rotating formula of six division games, four crossover games with one AFC division, four crossover games with one NFC division, and then two games with the corresponding finishers of the AFC divisions you don't play completely.
In plain English, as it pertains to the Texans, here are their opponents and where they play them in 2019:
A couple of observations here:
1. Yes, we would be playing the Patriots yet ANOTHER season, the fifth in a row. At least this time, unlike the last four times (including the 2016 playoffs), will be at NRG Stadium.
2. Road games outside the division to Kansas City, the Chargers, New Orleans, and Pittsburgh. Those are basically four of the consensus top ten teams in football as we speak. Yes, it's much harder than crossing over with the NFC East and AFC East, like the Texans are doing this season.
3. The quarterbacks... MY GOD, THE QUARTERBACKS! This season, here are the quarterbacks that the Texans will have played, barring injury, by season's end (I'll put them in my own subjective tiers, with Tier I as a superstar franchise guy, TIER II a solid starter, TIER III a shaky starter or solid rookie, TIER IV an overwhelmed rookie or backup or Blake Bortles:
TIER I: Brady, Luck (twice), Wentz
TIER II: Prescott, Keenum, A. Smith
TIER III: E. Manning, Mayfield, Mariota,
TIER IV: Gabbert, J. Allen, Bortles, Osweiler, Darnold, Kessler
Here are the quarterbacks they'll be playing, as of right now, next season:
TIER I: Luck (twice), Mahomes, Rivers, Brees, Ryan, Newton, Brady, Roethlisberger
TIER II: Keenum, Winston
TIER III: Mariota (twice), Carr
TIER IV: Bortles (twice)
I mean.... someone give Romeo Crennel a raise... and some Advil.
4. Road trips to Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Tampa Bay are pretty solid, though, if you're someone who likes to travel to road games. Those are great road trip spots.
So, my point with all of this is, if you're not already, Texan fan, savor this season, because next season might be a whole helluva lot harder!
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.