2013 NFL schedule: Texans, Colts have favorable late-season stretches in AFC South

Jonathan Daniel

The AFC South could be decided in a Week 15 game in Indianapolis.

Divisional opponents enter each season with the majority of their schedule looking the same; however, the order of the games can make a large difference as each of the four teams battle for a chance to play in the postseason. For the AFC South, the Jaguars, Colts, Texans and Titans will each play the eight teams of the AFC West and NFC West. From here, it looks like Houston and Indianapolis could be in a real horserace to win the division, and both team received a little help from the schedule.

While the Texans begin their year with games against the Ravens, Seahawks and 49ers in Week 3, 4 and 5, respectively, the AFC South champions will finish their season with an eight-game stretch that features five games against teams that are slated to pick in the top 10 of the 2013 NFL Draft.

The Colts have a similar stretch early in the season with both the Seahawks and 49ers prior to their Week 8 along with the Broncos. However, their final eight games are similarly light, including their final two games of the season against the Chiefs and Jaguars, respectively, the two teams that finished 2012 with the NFL's worst record.

The Jaguars have a front-loaded schedule as well, and have a three-game home stretch in December, but repeated road trips early in the year, including a "home" game in London against the 49ers, make the schedule more difficult than most.

Tennessee begins their 2013 season with a two-game road trip against the Steelers and Texans and have other pairs of difficult matchups throughout the schedule before finishing the year against the Texans.

Odd spacing in the schedule that has the Jaguars and Texans playing each other twice in 11 days and the Colts and Titans playing each other twice in 14 days will make divisional play in November and early December very important. The game of the season, though, may be a Week 15 game when the Texans travel to face the Colts, as the two 2012 playoff teams could face-off for a chance to win the division.

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