Houston Texans 2020 NFL schedule: 5 must-win games

Houston Texans, NFL Schedule

If the Houston Texans want to win the AFC South again next year, they’ll need to win these five games to ensure they finish over .500 and best their rivals.

The Houston Texans have had a stranglehold on the AFC South for much of the Bill O’Brien era. Since arriving in Houston, the Texans have won the division four times, including four of the last five years. While the AFC South has never been overly competitive, it’s an impressive feat for the Texans to have taken full control of the division that used to belong to the Indianapolis Cots.

Houston is coming off back-to-back division titles after stumbling in 2017 because of Deshaun Watson‘s season-ending injury. Even more impressive, the AFC South fielded Wild Card teams in addition to the division-winning Texans the last two years. Though Houston has never not played on Wild Card weekend, it’s been a fixture in the AFC playoffs for the last half decade.

With stiff competition from the Colts and the Tennessee Titans this year, Houston may not be poised to three-peat in the AFC South this fall. If they are going to do it, the Texans will need at the very least a 9-7 record and tiebreakers over their division rivals. Going 11-5 next year seems like a reach, but a 10-6 mark is possible, as long as the Texans win a fair share of either-way games.

Here are the five games the Texans must win if they want to three-peat in the AFC South in 2020.

5

Detroit Lions

Away Ford Field

For the Texans to achieve a winning record this fall, they’ll need to go something like 4-2 in divisional play, split their first-place schedule games in the AFC, split their AFC North games and win either two or three of their NFC North games. There are very few certain wins for the Texans on their schedule next year, so you have to beat bad teams like the Detroit Lions on the road.

That’s reason enough to make the list. A win in Detroit could help with division tiebreakers in the AFC South should they finish with the same regular-season records as a rival. But this is also the reason we can’t put this potential road win over the Lions any higher than No. 5. Again, the Texans should win this game, but with it not being an AFC contest, it’s not nearly as important as others.

Of the NFC North slate, the Texans host the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings, as well as play the Lions and the Chicago Bears on the road. Beating two playoff teams at home in Green Bay and Minnesota feels like a stretch, but maybe they get one win. Defeating the Bears at Soldier Field is possible, but not as likely as coming away with a road victory at Ford Field.

In short, the Texans have to go at least 2-2 in NFC North play to even get to 9-7, assuming a 4-2 AFC South record. None of these NFC North games is particularly easy, but none is a certain loss either. If the Texans were hosting the Lions, it would be a gimme, but because it’s not, then we’re going to have to treat this as the Texans’ fifth-most important must-win game.

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