Houston Texans schedule analysis

Breakdown: Houston plays four times in prime time, but only one of those games is at home. The Texans are at San Diego on opening weekend, at San Francisco in Week 5, against Indianapolis in Week 9 and at Jacksonville in Week 14’s Thursday night game.

The Texans' final five games are tough. The home games are against two of the AFC’s very best teams, New England and Denver, while the three road games are against their three division foes. The trips to the West are over after Week 10, so even though those can tire a team out, Houston won’t have to deal with any long travels as the playoffs approach.

Houston will play in five cities in which it's never won: Arizona (0-1), San Francisco (0-1), Baltimore (0-3), San Diego (0-1) and Indianapolis (0-11).

Complaint department: The Texans have a very tough road start. They open in the second half of the "Monday Night Football" doubleheader at San Diego. In Week 3, they are at defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore. And in Week 5, they head to the West Coast again to meet defending NFC champion San Francisco.

In exchange for a nationally televised opener against the Chargers, the Texans get a tough turnaround. Kickoff is at 9:20 CT in San Diego, so the team will get back to Houston around dawn Tuesday and have a short week to prepare for their home opener against Tennessee in Week 2.

The road schedule softens after the first three, with only Indianapolis threatening to provide a major obstacle.

Stacked up against tough quarterbacks: In Weeks 3, 4 and 5, the Texans face three of the best teams on their schedule that boast something Houston struggled with mightily in 2012 -- top-flight quarterbacks. They are at Baltimore against Joe Flacco, home against Seattle and Russell Wilson and at San Francisco against Colin Kaepernick. They have an even worse QB stretch late when they’ll be charged with slowing Tom Brady, Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning in a four-week stretch.

Perhaps the first run against good QBs will help them be more prepared for that late stretch.

Texans Regular-Season Schedule (All times Eastern)

Week 1: Monday, Sept. 9, at San Diego, 10:15 p.m.

Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 15, Tennessee, 1 p.m.

Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 22, at Baltimore, 1p.m.

Week 4: Sunday, Sept. 29, Seattle, 1 p.m.

Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 6, at San Francisco, 8:30 p.m.

Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 13, St. Louis, 1 p.m.

Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 20, at Kansas City, 1 p.m.

Week 8: BYE

Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 3, Indianapolis, 8:30 p.m.

Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 10, at Arizona, 4:25 p.m.

Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 17, Oakland, 1 p.m.

Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 24, Jacksonville, 1 p.m.

Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 1, New England, 4:25 p.m.

Week 14: Thursday, Dec. 5, at Jacksonville, 8:25 p.m.

Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 15, at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.

Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 22, Denver, 1 p.m.

Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 29, at Tennessee, 1 p.m.