The Houston Texans 2012 schedule mostly represents a rise in national television respect and pods of difficult games contrasted by easier runs.
To the schedule before the analysis:
September 9th: Miami Dolphins
September 16th: at Jacksonville Jaguars
September 23rd: at Denver Broncos
September 30th: Tennessee Titans
October 8th: at New York Jets (Monday Night Football)
October 14th: Green Bay Packers (Sunday Night Football)
October 21st: Baltimore Ravens
October 28th: Bye Week
November 4th: Buffalo Bills
November 11th: at Chicago Bears (Sunday Night Football)
November 18th: Jacksonville Jaguars
November 22nd: at Detroit Lions (Thanksgiving)
December 2nd: at Tennessee Titans
December 10th: at New England Patriots (Monday Night Football)
December 16th: Indianapolis Colts
December 23rd: Minnesota Vikings
December 30th: at Indianapolis Colts
Compared to previous seasons, that’s five straight games to begin the year in which Houston should be favored. Denver might be a crapshoot with Peyton Manning gunning against his old AFC South whipping boy but the Broncos aren’t more talented than their Bayou City counterparts. A game at the Jets is tricky until you remember Mark Sanchez barely resembles the quarterback who trounced the Texans in his 2009 debut.
Green Bay and Baltimore in back-to-back weeks make me pause and lean toward two losses. But, they’re both at home and sans Matt Schaub, the Texans stayed close to the Ravens in the 2011 playoffs. The first weekend in November will be interesting to hear the ovation or lack thereof former top overall pick Mario Williams draws. Once the game kicks off, Williams unfortunately must sit on the sideline with Ryan Fitzpatrick as his signal-caller.
In Chicago on Sunday night also intrigues, if only to judge whether engaged life works for Jay Cutler. If it doesn’t, ring up the tip jar with interceptions. Houston makes their Turkey Day debut against the Detroit Lions in the early game. Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson earn more money than Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson but I’m not sure they’re a better tandem.
Nashville and Foxboro in consecutive weeks likely incurs a loss but if Jake Locker is starting for the Titans, it’s not happening there. Brady and Belichick might be striding toward the #1 seed in the AFC so that December matchup possesses some flair. Closing with two Andrew Luck sacrifices and a Christian Ponder homicide has me bullish on the Texans repeating as AFC South champs.
Call it 12-4 for now.