With the release of the Houston Texans 2021 schedule, the one question all fans had following the schedule release was, “How many prime-time games will our team have?” The answer for the Texans in 2021 is easy … one game.
The Houston Texans will be in the prime-time stage just once for the 2021 season, and for good reason. The Texans are coming off a 4-12 overall record, they have a new head coach and general manager, and the Texans aren’t saying if Deshaun Watson will be their starting quarterback.
Think about it, if the Texans don’t have Watson for the ’21 season (which is very likely), they will have not only lost that star-power that helps bring a prime-time audience, but they released J.J. Watt this offseason, and last year the Texans traded DeAndre Hopkins. That is a lot of star-power to lose in a short amount of time.
To be quite honest there are no “superstar players” on the Texans that bring a national audience if Watson isn’t on the field, and that won’t get a team on the national stage. As for the team the Texans will be playing in ’21, in their one Thursday Night Football game, Houston will host the Carolina Panthers for a Week 3 game on Sept. 23 at NRG Stadium.
Neither the Texans or Panthers made the playoffs in ’20, and both will have different starting quarterbacks than who they had under center in ’21 if the situation stays the same for the Texans.
Houston Texans: Three new quarterbacks added to ’21 roster this offseason
The Houston Texans signed Tyrod Taylor as a quarterback option this offseason, plus they added Ryan Finley at quarterback as well. Houston also drafted Davis Mills of Stanford with a third round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft a few weeks ago, which was the 67th overall pick, and the first pick the Texans made in the draft. Carolina this offseason made a change at quarterback where they traded for Sam Darnold in a deal with the New York Jets, as they moved on from Teddy Bridgewater after one season.
Though none of the new quarterbacks are at the same level of Deshaun Watson, his off-the-field issues, and the fact he asked to be traded from the franchise, gives the feeling Houston will eventually move on from the NFL passing leader in ’20.
The Week 3 Thursday Night Football game will be the sixth time the Texans and Panthers have faced each other, with Carolina leading the all-time series at 3-2.
In the history of this series, the Texans won the first two games in ’03 by a 14-10 score, and in ’07 at 34-21. The Panthers have won the past three games against Houston winning by scores of 28-13 (’11), 24-17 (’15), and 16-10 (’19).
Though recent history isn’t great for the Houston Texans against the Panthers, none of that matters for the 2021 season because Houston is a whole different team, and are in the early stages of rebuilding their entire roster. General Manager Nick Caserio has made many changes to the Texans’ roster, and he’s not finished yet for the long-term future of the Texans.
This Thursday Night Football game against the Panthers will be exciting for the prime-time factor, but maybe it is a good thing for the Texans that the ’21 season only includes one game on the national stage as they will have their struggles as they re-work the franchise to be competitive once again.