Houston Texans have tough start on road vs. Patriots, Titans

Deshaun Watson was on pace to shatter rookie quarterback records before he tore his ACL. AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith

The NFL has released its 2018 regular-season schedule. Here's a look at what's in store for the Houston Texans.

Breakdown: The Texans must take care of business in the middle of the 2018 regular season, because four of their six toughest games start and end the season. They start the campaign on the road against the Patriots and Titans and finish it with a visit to the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles before a home game against the defending AFC South champion Jaguars. Houston will have a chance to help itself in the division early, as the Texans finish their road AFC South schedule by Week 7 when they travel to Jacksonville.

Home cooking: The Texans have the easiest home strength of schedule (combined .391 winning percentage in 2017) this season, with home games against the Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts and New York Giants, who combined to win seven games last season. Houston’s schedule does balance out on the road, however, with games against the Patriots, Eagles and Jaguars, so it’s important the Texans take advantage of the easier home slate, especially because they will finish with four of their last six games at NRG Stadium.

Texans could go streaking: While the Texans have a tough schedule to begin and end the season, they have an easier stretch in the middle, which could help them gain ground in the AFC South. Houston has a chance to get hot, with games against the Dolphins (home), Broncos (road), Redskins (road), Titans (home), Browns (home), Colts (home) and Jets (road) in Weeks 8 through 14. If the Texans want to go from fourth place in the AFC South to being a playoff contender, this is where they’ll need to handle their business.

Strength of schedule: 32nd, .453

Texans' Regular-Season Schedule (All times Eastern)

  • Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 9, at New England, 1 p.m.

  • Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 16, at Tennessee, 1 p.m.

  • Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 23, NY Giants, 1 p.m.

  • Week 4: Sunday, Sept. 30, at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.

  • Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 7, Dallas, 8:20 p.m.

  • Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 14, Buffalo, 1 p.m.

  • Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 21, at Jacksonville, 1 p.m.

  • Week 8: Thursday, Oct. 25, Miami, 8:20 p.m.

  • Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 4, at Denver, 4:05 p.m.

  • Week 10: BYE

  • Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 18, at Washington, 1 p.m.

  • Week 12: Monday, Nov. 26, Tennessee, 8:15 p.m.

  • Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 2, Cleveland, 1 p.m.

  • Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 9, Indianapolis, 1 p.m.

  • Week 15: Saturday, Dec. 15, at NY Jets, 4:30 p.m.

  • Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 23, at Philadelphia, 1 p.m.

  • Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 30, Jacksonville, 1 p.m.