New England Patriots (Week 3)
Most pundits see the Pats running the table for their sixth Super Bowl title. The Texans got blanked by New England 27-0 in Week 5, but held the Pats to 14 points in the first half of their playoff meeting. The second half showed an inefficient Osweiler managing only a field goal kick in the fourth quarter.
A true test for the top-ranked Houston defense is competing with the blistering Tom Brady offense and could be telling of the Texans’ playoff potential come December.
Tennessee Titans (Week 12)
The Jaguars have been a non-factor in the AFC South rivalry since their last winning season in 2007, I’ll omit them here.
Keep an eye out the Week 8 and 16 matches against the Colts. Indy should be a powerhouse every season behind stud quarterback Andrew Luck, but injury issues and roster building failures have doomed them to AFC irrelevance. Offseason acquisition of new GM Chris Ballard has been a boost so far; the Colt have inked ten different players from other teams.
The Titans seem to be the favorite in the division. Last season, Tennessee was tied for first, and beefed up their defense and gained additional weapons for Marcus Mariota over the offseason. The core of their offensive line is intact; the Titans bested Houston in the final game of the regular season, even without their starting quarterback, who succumbed to a broken fibula in a week 16 loss to the Jags.
Cleveland Browns (Week 6)
Let’s be honest, the Browns will likely win more than one game next season, but more than two is pushing it. The appeal of this one is a potential Brock Osweiler matchup with his old squad. Texans haven’t seen Cleveland’s ghastly orange helmets since the 2014 season, and are 5-3 against.
No. 1 draft selection Myles Garrett is a product of Arlington, Texas, but won’t get the chance to square off with Dallas this upcoming season. A Houston match is the closest he gets to his Texas roots.
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