With last week’s NFL schedule announcement, the 2023 season comes further into focus.
DeMeco Ryan’s Houston Texans start the campaign on the east coast, facing the Baltimore Ravens, then come home to host the Indianapolis Colts. They travel to Florida to square off against the Jacksonville Jaguars, then back home to welcome the Pittsburgh Steelers to town. If nothing else, the schedule makers balanced the road and home games fairly well up until week 11, where the Texans host the Arizona Cardinals, Glitter Kitties and Denver Broncos in a three-game home stretch.
While many fans don’t take it into account, that much travel takes its toll on teams. It’s proven that cross-country travel can, and will, negatively impact a roster. Thankfully, the Texans don’t call the left or right coast home, which minimizes travel time somewhat.
Another blessing in disguise is strength of schedule. The Texans are expected to have the third weakest strength of schedule.
Before the full schedule is released...— NFL (@NFL) May 11, 2023
Every team's strength of schedule in 2023. ⬇️
: 2023 NFL Schedule Release -- Tonight 8pm ET on @NFLNetwork pic.twitter.com/82xmSqdaQY
With all that travel and opponent’s 2022 win-loss percentage info rattling around in your head, the question of the day is:
How many wins do the Houston Texans get in 2023?
DeMeco Ryans alone should be worth a few more than Lovie Smith secured. How many more does offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik net? How about new defensive coordinator Matt Burke? What about the veteran players Nick Caserio has brought in, including newly signed Shaq Griffin? The rookies C.J. Stroud, Will Anderson Jr. and Tank Dell?
It’s easy to get overly optimistic, for sure.
.@HoustonTexans fans, what do you all think about this? #WeAreTexans pic.twitter.com/7EDctyQ183— Debbie the Texan (@debbiethetexan) May 15, 2023
Ye old Uprooted Texan ran a poll last week where 50% of respondents fell into the 4-7 wins camp and 44% of those remaining thought 8-11 wins was more realistic.
It’s fairly easy to make an argument that this team will certainly get between four and 11 wins in 2023.
With strength of schedule, less rigorous travel plans, vastly improved coaching and an upgraded roster it’s hard to think the Texans wouldn’t at least double their 2022 win total and secure six games.
Then, if they can keep the injury bug at bay, avoid the referees thinking they’re the Las Vegas Raiders and win the turnover battle each and every week, that number of dubs should swell past the eight mark. Especially if those issues befall their opponents.
And, who knows, any given Sunday, right?
#Texans coach DeMeco Ryans at Minute Maid Park 'The Astros, they're champions. It's what we want to bring on the football side. Baseball, Astros are doing it. For us, for the Texans, it's the kind of atmosphere we want to bring. We want to mimic what the Astros are doing' @KPRC2 pic.twitter.com/Nm5haF0y1Z— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) May 16, 2023
If you want to mimic the Astros, coach, better start bringing home Lombardi trophies. Your first opportunity to do so starts in Baltimore on September 10th.