Week 5- at Minnesota Vikings
Teams had some success on the ground early on last season against the Texans, and Adrian Peterson figures to get a lot of carries in this one. Teddy Bridgewater made the Pro Bowl last season in his second year (though let’s be honest, he didn’t deserve it) and should be better this year. The issue will be who will be if he can find a consistent playmaker on the outside. Mike Zimmer has made the secondary a good one, but I can’t see Terence Newman keeping up with Hopkins. The Vikings also had trouble defending the run last year, so Lamar Miller might get some chances for big plays. If the Texans slow down Peterson, they have a chance to get their first win over the Vikings.
Week 6- Indianapolis Colts
This will be the first time the Texans have seen Andrew Luck since 2014. Matt Hasselbeck led the Colts into Houston last season and came out with a win, so you know this is going to be a tough game. If Luck can regain his form from two years ago and shake off the turnovers that have plagued him, the Texans are going to be in for a tough game. The pass rush will have to be on its game here.
Week 7- at Denver Broncos
This is the first of the Texans two Monday Night Football games this season, going to the high altitude of Denver to play against the reigning Super Bowl champions. It’s uncertain at this point who the quarterback of the Broncos will be–perhaps Mark Sanchez, Colin Kaepernick or even a rookie. Either way, Osweiler has a chance to prove in front of the Denver crowd that he would have been worth the money.
Week 8- Detroit Lions
You know this part of the schedule is going to be tough when the Lions are your easiest opponent. Don’t sleep on these Lions, who went 6-2 in the second half of last season after starting the year 1-7. Yes Calvin Johnson is gone, but Matthew Stafford played much better last season after Joe Lombardi was let go, and could have another big year with Golden Tate, Marvin Jones and Eric Ebron to throw to.
The second quarter of the season looks like the toughest of the season. Two road games against playoff teams from last year as well as two teams who figure to be in the mix this season. I expect the Texans to be around .500, give or take a game, halfway through the season.