Texans' schedule will look very different in 2024

A year ago, most believed the Texans had little or no chance of making it to the playoffs. Then, they did.

This year, everything will be different.

The differences should become obvious when the schedule is released in six days. Consider the opponents. Beyond the six games against divisional rivals (Colts, Titans, Jaguars), the Texans host the Ravens, Bills, Dolphins, Lions, and Bears, and they face on the road the Chiefs, Cowboys, Packers, Vikings, Patriots, and Jets.

That's seven total games against playoff teams.

And those games will be candidates for high-profile slots. Last year, every game with the exception of the regular-season finale started at 1:00 p.m. ET on a Sunday. Coaches love that routine. No short weeks, no night games. Consistency. Repetition.

This year, the Texans will (or should) be splashed all over the place. They could visit the Chiefs to start the season. They could go to Dallas for Thanksgiving. They are a team the networks, and the league, will want to showcase.

That makes the specific schedule critical. If they open with, say, a trip to Kansas City and chase it with, for instance, a Sunday night game against the Bills, 0-2 becomes a possibility.

When they went 0-2 last year, no one freaked out because it was expected. This year, the vibe would be very different if they've yet to win a game by the time Week 3 rolls around.

The challenge for coach DeMeco Ryans will be to press the buttons in a far different way than he did a year ago. They're suddenly a measuring-stick team, and they'll be facing plenty of great teams in pressure-packed spots.

There's no reason to think it won't work. They played well when everyone was paying attention last year. This year, however, extra attention will be a regular occurrence for the Texans.