Texans 2013 schedule: Early games will test Houston's defense before the bye week

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

After repeated playoff failures, the Houston Texans enter the new season with raised expectations. Can they finally put it all together?

The Houston Texans enter the 2013 season looking to win the team's third-consecutive division title. With several key players back from the injury and a new offensive toy in rookie wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, the Texans seem poised for a three-peat in the AFC South.

While the Texans are seemingly the class of the division, the inter-conference competition for Houston will be their toughest test. The Texans will play the NFC West this season, with key back-to-back games against the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers before the Texans' bye week. Houston will also face the AFC West, a division that features Peyton Manning and  the Denver Broncos.

The divisional competition is also on the upswing, as the Colts and Titans spent the offseason improving their lineups. Indianapolis is likely the biggest threat to the Texans' division title hopes.

Week Date Opponent Time (ET) TV
1 Sept. 9 @ San Diego 10:20 p.m. ESPN
2 Sept. 15 vs. Tennessee 1 p.m. CBS
3 Sept. 22 @ Baltimore 1 p.m. CBS
4 Sept. 29 vs. Seattle 1 p.m. FOX
5 Oct. 6 @ San Francisco 8:30 p.m. NBC
6 Oct. 13 vs. St. Louis 1 p.m. CBS
7 Oct. 20 @ Kansas City 1 p.m. CBS
8 Nov. 3 vs. Indianapolis 8:30 p.m. NBC
9 Nov. 10 @ Arizona 4:25 p.m. CBS
10 Nov. 17 vs. Oakland 1 p.m. CBS
11 Nov. 24 vs. Jacksonville 1 p.m. CBS
12 Dec. 1 vs. New England 4:25 p.m. CBS
13 Dec. 5 @ Jacksonville 8:25 p.m. NFLN
14 Dec. 15 @ Indianapolis 1 p.m. CBS
15 Dec. 22 vs. Denver 1 p.m. CBS
16 Dec. 29 @ Tennessee 1 p.m. CBS

Toughest out: 49ers (away)

The 49ers are considered one of the best teams in the entire NFL and have a run game that will test both the outside and inside of the Texans' defense. San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been a major weapon and the Texans will have to account for his arm and his feet. On defense, the 49ers keep running backs out of the endzone, so Arian Foster may have a tough time on this particular Sunday.

Must win: Titans (home)

Week 2 of the season will have to be a win for the Texans, as they enter a stretch from Weeks 3-5 where Houston will play against the defending champion Ravens, the Seahawks and the 49ers. During that stretch, the Texans could easily go 0-3, so they need to beat the division rival Titans before those contests. This game is the first divisional match-up for the Texans, and they won't play another AFC South contest until November, so its important to get an early win to keep pace.

Don't overlook: Chiefs (away)

While the Chiefs finished last in the league last season, they did send a bunch of players to the Pro Bowl. The team has talent on both sides of the ball, and new head coach Andy Reid is one of best offensive play-callers in the league. Jamaal Charles will be a tough task between the tackles, while the Texans will hope to limit Alex Smith and Dwayne Bowe in the passing game.

For all your Houston Texans news, make sure to head to Battle Red Blog.

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