In a post I wrote before the start of last season, I complained about how the Texans were denied any national television coverage from ESPN’s Monday Night Football and NBC’s Sunday Night Football. For the low down on how the Texans did in their most recent nationally televised games, please read my post here.
As the schedule of divisions playing inter and intra-conference divisions rotates, the intra-conference for the Texans and the rest of the AFC South, is the AFC East, bringing the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, and the “Evil Empire,” New England Patriots. In the inter-confrence, the match-up for the AFC South is the NFC North, pairing up the Texans with the Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, and the Chicago Bears.
On to the nationally televised games this season, the Texans are scheduled to have five nationally televised games during the regular season, one on ESPN for Monday Night Football, a game in East Rutherford, New Jersey, where the Texans will battle the New York Jets in their shiny new Met Life Stadium. No predictions as of now, it is still far too early, and the Tim Tebow/Mark Sanchez predicament has yet to be panned out. Once the season nears, we shall release predictions aplenty. The Texans have built a little mini-rivalry with the Jets, and in 2010 the Jets won a late game thriller against a regressing Texans team who had the worst pass defense in the league upon which Sanchez and company feasted as they would go on to beat the Texans, who had mounted a late 20 point comeback on Jets. Alas, the comeback was secured by the Texans’ Swiss cheese secondary.
Just six days later, the Texans will return home to Reliant Stadium to face the Green Bay Packers on NBC’s Sunday Night Football. Green Bay is coming off a banner year where they became just the sixth team to win 15 games in a season, going 15-1, losing a mistake riddled game in Kansas City. This will most certainly represent one of the toughest challenges for the Texans this coming year.
In Week 11 Houston will travel to Soldier Field to face DAAAA BEARS, and the Texans will face a tough defender in Brian Urlacher. The Texans last faced the Bears in 2008 in Houston, and beat Chicago 31-24 in a game that came down to the wire. Certainly no dancing or shuffling Bears will be on parade in Chicago. Perhaps the Da Superfans will invite Butch Hartmann or Donnie Jones into their bar to tackle him like they did Adam Vinatieri in a commercial done for Reebok.
The final Nationally televised game is Thursday November 22nd, or, Thanksgiving! Yes, the Houston Texans will be making their Thanksgiving debut against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field in Detroit for an early 11:30 AM CST kickoff. The previous meeting was also in 2008. Houston managed to best the Lions in a Week 7 match-up, utilizing their defense to hold the Lions from rallying to tie or win the game in fourth quarter, giving the Texans a 28-21 victory over the Lions.
After the slap in the face of the schedule of last season, the Texans are getting the respect they deserve as they are slated for these four nationally televised games. The opponents are tough, the schedule is far more tougher than last year, and the Texans have a daunting task ahead of them, but they will undoubtedly run head first into the fight, and battle for every win. The Texans, this early in the offseason, are looking to get back into the rhythm of the high demands of an NFL season, as they have worked hard everyday of the offseason to better themselves. Organized team activities are underway and anybody who wants to contribute to the team is in Houston, putting in work, to make this team that much better and prepare for their toughest season yet.
The match up with the most personal interest, at this point in time, is the November 4th engagement with the Buffalo Bills. The Bill signed away Houston favorite Mario Williams, but initially had no hard feelings, until Williams tweeted “Judgement day November 4th!!” and speculations flared as Texans fans thought he is holding a grudge or disdain for the Texans. There has been no explanation behind the tweet yet, and Williams has not stated his feelings about the Houston Texans except for tweeting upon his departure, “Thanks to all the real Texan fans out there. It has been a great ride for six years and I wish the team the very best. Much love to the players, coaches and staff. It is unfortunate to have to leave such a great place due to salary cap constraints and other intentions. It is very fortunate to have the memories, sweat, blood and tears with the guys in that organization and now the opportunity to be apart of the bills franchise and begin the drive down the road this city and people deserve. I will always love my true Texans out there and a piece of my heart will always remain with you and to all other bandwagon fans out there remember be careful what you say. I will see you all either way very soon! #childsplay. GO BILLS” all of course over the span of six tweets as that is more than 140 characters.
Finally, the Texans will take on reigning AFC Conference Champions New England Patriots who will ultimately be the toughest challenge in the AFC for the Texans team as they are most likely to meet the Texans late in the Postseason, either in Divisional or Conference Championship. The last time these two teams met was in 2009 when the Texans scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to upset the Patriots who lost star receiver Wes Welker in the first quarter. The Texans posted their best record of 9-7 with the win over the Patriots who would go on to be eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, being blown out by the Baltimore Ravens.
The 2012 campaign will be a very interesting one to say the least, but as the draft nears, all we can do right now is sit back and speculate.
- Richard Perez