The NFL did the 10-6 AFC South Divisional Champions Houston Texans no favors in their schedule for the 2012 season. In spite of an overall opponent winning percentage of .473, the Texans will face several tough challenges in the 2012 season. The saving grace will be their ability to once again capture the divisional crown.
The Texans will once again open at home, a luxury that Gary Kubiak admits he is happy to have once again. “It’s nice to open at home. It’s a few years in a row that we’ve had the chance to do that” Kubiak said. The Miami Dolphins have struggled and look to continue that with a huge question mark at the quarterback position. With a week 2 road game at divisional opponent Jacksonville Jaguars, the Texans should start with a 2-0 record.
The first big test for the Texans will be against the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning on the road. With Manning leaving the divisional rival Indianapolis Colts, it looked as if the Texans would finally be rid of their nemesis in Manning. Not so says the NFL. Manning and the Broncos looked to be much improved as they were extremely busy this off season with several new acquisitions. The path to continued success for the Texans certainly gets no easier when they face Tennessee Titans in a divisional contest whom they split with in the 2011 season.
Even as good as the Houston Texans will be with Matt Schaub back at quarterback and returning a strong defense, the next 3 weeks will be very difficult. What I consider one of the toughest 3 week stretches in the NFL starts with a Monday Night Football contest on the road against Rex Ryan and the New York Jets. While games at home against the Green Bay Packers and the Baltimore Ravens will be fun for the city of Houston and Texan fans, it could be very rough for the players. The Packers come to town for a Sunday night prime time contest in a short week for the Texans to prepare following their Monday night game. The first half of the season ends with a rematch against the Ravens, the team that ultimately ended the Texans playoff run last season. Thank goodness for a mid season bye week.
But wait, things don’t really get any easier in the second half. It starts with a home game against the Buffalo Bills, you know, Mario Williams? Should be interesting to watch the homecoming. The Texans then face a tough Chicago Bears on the road in Prime Time on Sunday night. After coming home for a divisional game against the Jaguars, the Texans go on the road for 3 games including their first Thanksgiving contest against the Detroit Lions and another Monday Night Football game against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
The Texans saving grace in all of this is their last 3 games, 2 against divisional opponent Colts and Andrew Luck. Let’s not forget however, that Luck will have had 10 weeks to settle in to his role as the new man in Indianapolis. In spite of that, I look for the Texans to win both contests and wrap up the Division once again. The Texans will be doing very good to finish at 10-6 again this season and could very well end up 8-8 considering several teams on their schedule. The difference in the playoffs will be a healthy Matt Schaub. Could this be the season the Texans make it to the Super Bowl? Time will tell, but make no mistake, their schedule should have them ready to make that run.