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Let’s put the 2010 Texans schedule on the Do Not Like list. The only thing worse is maybe going to Chuck E Cheese on a Saturday or this song. (Warning on the song. It may reduce your testosterone levels or at a minimum make you want to jab sharp objects in your ears but alas, the music is in your brain so you can’t unhear it even if with permanent ear damage).

After all the 9-7 talk, the first thing all fans were talking about was how tough next year’s schedule is. Alan “AJ” Burge sums it up the strength of schedule talk well at his Houston Texans Examiner blog.

Here’s the home games:

Cowboys, Ravens, Chiefs, Giants, Chargers + AFC South opponents

Here’s the away games:

Denver, Oakland, Philadelphia, Washington, Jets + AFC South opponents

Ew. Based on this year’s strength of schedule, the Texans and Titans have the hardest strength of schedule (and the Cowboys are right after them).

Past strength of schedule doesn’t predict future strength of schedule:

I’ve made this point before. Just because a team was good or bad in the past, doesn’t mean it will be that way in the future. Doug Drinen at the very good Pro Football Reference blog actually ran the numbers on this point. He noted that past strength of schedule has very little predictive value of how tough the schedule was going to be the next year.

It’s not to say that it doesn’t matter because it clearly does. It’s just that pass performance doesn’t predict future performance.

The AFC South and NFC East have been the best divisions over the past decade.

My friend, JJ Cooper at FanHouse looked at all the divisions over the last decade, and surprising to me, the AFC South was the strongest division (even with those early Texan teams thrown in the mix). The NFC East was the second strongest division.

After doing this analysis, he writes:

The best division of the past decade–it’s hard to argue with the AFC South. In any other division, Tennessee would have been winning division titles on a frequent basis. Stuck in the same division with the Colts, they were usually battling for wild card spots. Jacksonville had plenty of highlights as well while the Texans have climbed to respectability in recent years. This chart also shows just how difficult their climb was, considering the talent in the rest of the division.

Though I do not think that you can use past performance to predict future performance, but just looking at those teams right now, there’s reason for concern. Lots of stable franchises, good quarterback play, and quality defenses in that mix. Also, some very large physical teams.

The Texans have their work cut out for them facing a schedule where they have to improve their record in division, and also face physical teams outside division. Pretty critical off season for the team.

The thing to look for this spring is how this particular schedule is put together–when the home games, road games and bye week are. The schedule is going to be nasty. The question is whether the schedulers will make it worse by the way the home and road games are scheduled.