Houston Texans’ 2021 opponents and strength of schedule

Who are the Houston Texans’ 2021 NFL opponents as they look to bounce back from a poor performance in the 2020 season? Let’s look at who the Texans will play in 2021, and what that means in terms of their strength of schedule ranking compared to their rivals.

Who do the Texans play in 2021?

The Texans’ list of 2021 opponents will see them play the regular six games against the AFC South: Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Tennessee Titans. As is customary, the Texans will face each of those three teams both at home and on the road during the 2021 season.

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The 2021 season will also see the AFC South compete against the AFC East and NFC West for another eight games. Finally, the remaining two games on the traditional 16-game schedule will see the Texans face the two teams that finished in third place of the AFC North (Cleveland Browns) and AFC West (Los Angeles Chargers).

What about the Texans’ 17th game in 2021?

The 2021 season is expected to introduce a 17th regular season game for all NFL teams. Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport reported on NFL.com that plans are in place to expand the regular season, although their report has yet to be officially confirmed by the NFL. Therefore, who would be the opponent for the Texans’ 17th game in the 2021 season?

Reports suggest that a decision has been made on how the 17th game opponent will be decided. The matchup will be an interconference matchup based on standings on a rotational basis.

Albert Breer reports that the divisional alignments for the 2021 season have already been set. According to Breer, the AFC South will face the NFC South for the 17th game. Therefore, the Texans’ opponent for their 17th game in 2021 would be the Carolina Panthers.

The Houston Texans’ 2021 opponents

Here are the teams that the Houston Texans will play against in the 2021 NFL season:

Home: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, New York Jets, New England Patriots, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Chargers

Road: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns

17th game (location TBD): Carolina Panthers

Houston Texans’ strength of schedule for 2021

As we look ahead towards the 2021 NFL season, how does the Texans’ strength of schedule for 2021 shape up? The strength of schedule rankings are compiled from the 2020 records of the Texans’ 2021 opponents.

The Texans have a middle of the road schedule in 2021

The Texans’ 2021 strength of schedule ranks 15th in the league. They have the eighth-most difficult schedule in the AFC and the second-toughest schedule in the AFC South. Only the Tennessee Titans project to have a tougher schedule within their division.

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The six games against their own division see the Texans facing two teams who won a total of 22 of their 32 games; the Jaguars won just one of their 16. The Texans’ schedule sees them playing a total of eight games against teams who made the playoffs last season. Four of those will be within their division against the Titans and Colts. Meanwhile, the other four come against the Rams, Seahawks, Browns, and Bills.

However, the remaining games see a mixture of opponents on the Texans’ 2021 schedule. The Dolphins are the only other team to have won double-digit games. Therefore, the other seven games come against teams that won between one and eight games in 2020.

How does their schedule at home compare to their schedule on the road?

Interestingly, the Texans have a big difference in their home and road strength of schedule. The Texans host the 21st-easiest home schedule at NRG Stadium in 2021. That is largely due to the Texans hosting the two-win New York Jets and the one-win Jacksonville Jaguars.

In contrast, the Texans’ road schedule looks extremely tough, ranking as the sixth-toughest. Outside of the Jaguars, the Texans’ second-easiest road game is against the 2019 NFC champion San Francisco 49ers.

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Ben Rolfe is a Senior Managing Editor at Pro Football Network and is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can find him on Twitter @BenRolfePFN.