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Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Texans schedule analysis


Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Breakdown: The Texans are determined to start better, as they have played well at the end of recent seasons, but it hasn't meant much because of slow starts. Three out of four at home should be favorable, though the first four are no cakewalk: Jets, at Titans, Jacksonville and Oakland.

They'll be upset they drew just one prime time game, but it's a biggie. Last year when the Titans visited, Houston pulled the upset at Reliant Stadium. This time the second matchup of the season will be "Monday Night Football" on Nov. 23, with the Texans coming off a Week 10 bye.

If the Texans are to be the breakthrough team many are forecasting, their finale could be a must-win, and New England is a tough draw even at home.

The Texans' opponents combined for a .506 winning percentage last year, meaning this ranks as the league's 15th-toughest schedule.

Complaint department: In exchange for the heavy-at-home start comes a stretch that seems a little extreme -- four out of five on the road with trips to Arizona and Cincinnati before a respite at home against San Francisco and then trips to Buffalo and Indianapolis.

Bunched up: The Texans need to play better in the division to have a chance at a playoff spot, and they drew four AFC South games in a row, with a bye mixed in, starting on Nov. 8. It's generally better to have those games spaced out a little. Teams shouldn't be able to play twice inside a month, but the Texans-Colts matchups are just three weeks apart.

Texans Regular-season schedule (All times Eastern)

Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 13, NEW YORK JETS, 1 p.m., CBS
Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 20, at Tennessee Titans, 1 p.m, CBS
Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 27, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS, 1 p.m., CBS
Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 4, OAKLAND RAIDERS, 1 p.m., CBS
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 11, at Arizona Cardinals, 4:15 p.m., CBS
Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 18, at Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m., CBS
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 25, SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS, 1 p.m., FOX
Week 8: Sunday, Nov. 1, at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m., CBS
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 8, at Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m., CBS
Week 10: BYE
Week 11: Monday, Nov. 23, TENNESSEE TITANS, 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 29, INDIANAPOLIS COLTS, 1 p.m., CBS
Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 6, at Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m., CBS
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 13, SEATTLE SEAHAWKS, 1 p.m., FOX
Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 20, at St. Louis Rams, 1 p.m., CBS
Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 27, at Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m., CBS
Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 3, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS, 1 p.m., CBS