Quarterback Deshaun Watson, wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and defensive ends J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney make up one of the league's strongest foundations. Whether there's enough depth around them remains uncertain after a mostly quiet free-agent period.
Houston will hope its minor additions paired with some new arrivals in the draft are enough to help push the franchise to new heights after never advancing beyond the divisional round of the playoffs.
Let's check out the Texans' full slate for next season following the NFL's schedule announcement. That's followed by a breakdown of what's on tap for the AFC South champs.
Texans' 2019 Schedule
Week 1 (Sep. 9): at New Orleans Saints, 7:10 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Week 2 (Sep. 15): vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Week 3 (Sep. 22): at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)
Week 4 (Sep. 29): vs. Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m. ET (Fox)
Week 5 (Oct. 6): vs. Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m. ET (Fox)
Week 6 (Oct. 13): at Kansas City Chiefs, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Week 7 (Oct. 20): at Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Week 8 (Oct. 27): vs. Oakland Raiders, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Week 9 (Nov. 3): at Jacksonville Jaguars, 9:30 a.m. ET (NFL Network)
Week 10: BYE
Week 11 (Nov. 17): at Baltimore Ravens, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Week 12 (Nov. 21): vs. Indianapolis Colts, 8:20 p.m. ET (Fox, NFL Network, Amazon)
Week 13 (Dec. 1): vs. New England Patriots, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)
Week 14 (Dec. 8): vs. Denver Broncos, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Week 15 (Dec. 15): at Tennessee Titans, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
Week 16 (Dec. 21 or 22): at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, TBD (TBD)
Week 17 (Dec. 29): vs. Tennessee Titans, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
If the Texans end up falling short of expectations in 2019, a tricky slate could prove to become a major factor. They have the fourth-hardest schedule for the upcoming campaign based on opponents' records last year, per John Breech of CBS Sports.
Houston's schedule features two-fold challenges.
On one hand, it will be forced to face off with several of the league's leading title threats, led by the New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs. On the other, it's not fortunate enough to have many "gimme" games. Almost every foe will find itself in the playoff race deep in the year.
More than anything, the Texans must take care of business at home because the road schedule is a gauntlet, especially with non-divisional opponents. A 6-2 mark or better at NRG Stadium would put them on pace to reach the postseason.
Houston's schedule will make it difficult to post the 13-3 or 12-4 record usually necessary to secure a bye in the opening round of the postseason. The bottom line remains the same, though. Winning the AFC South is a guaranteed playoff berth, regardless of record.
In turn, the two most crucial games on the Texans' schedule are the meetings with Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts.
The Texans and Colts seem like they're a step ahead of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans, at least on paper at this stage of the offseason. So their head-to-head games will go a long way in determining the division champions, especially if either side pulls off a sweep.
Houston's games against Jacksonville and Tennessee are still important. But in the simplest view of the Texans' season, it's hard to imagine a scenario where they go 2-0 against the Colts and don't ultimately find their way into the playoffs. So that should be a chief goal entering a promising 2019 campaign.