The NFL is just a week away from releasing its 17-week schedule for all 32 teams on Thursday, May 12th. The official schedule release always results in fans and media examining primetime games, long stretches of road games, long stretches of home games, short weeks and more nuances.
This year, AFC Teams will play nine of their 17 regular season games on the road this year after hosting nine games in 2021. AFC South plays an extra NFC North team in 2022, the Chicago Bears who finished third in their division like the Texans.
Home matchups in 2022 will be against: Jaguars, Colts, Titans, Browns, Chargers, Chiefs, Eagles and Commanders.
Road games in 2022 include: Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Tennessee, Dallas, New York Giants, Denver, Las Vegas, Miami, Chicago.
In no particular order, here are seven things to know about the Texans 2022 schedule:
1. Lovie Smith returns to Chicago
Smith will return to Chicago exactly one decade after his final season after nine years (2004-12) as head coach of the Bears. In 2012, the Bears parted ways with Smith after a 10-6 record on the season. He led the Bears to three division titles, two NFC Championship Game appearances and the 2006 NFC Championship, which propelled Chicago to its first Super Bowl appearance in 21 years.
2. Head-to-head with new head coaches
This year, nine teams hired a new head coach, including the Texans. Houston will face all but two of them during the 2022 season. Fun fact - all of these new head coach matchups will also be on the road: Matt Eberlus (at Chicago), Nathaniel Hackett (at Denver), Josh McDaniels (at Las Vegas), Mike McDaniel (at Miami), Doug Pederson (vs. and at Jacksonville) and Brian Daboll (at New York Giants).
3. Shake It Out (AFC) West
The Texans will play all four teams in beefed-up AFC West this year. The blockbuster trades for Russell Wilson and Davante Adams were not only the biggest storylines in free agency, they also suddenly catapulted the AFC West to arguably the best division in the NFL. Even defensively, Chandler Jones signed with Las Vegas while J.C. Jackson and Khalil Mack landed with the Chargers. The Chiefs lost a key weapon in Tyreek Hill, but added former Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster and former Packers WR Marquez Valdez-Scantling as well as former Texan Justin Reid at safety.
4. Vegas, Baby
The Texans will make their franchise debut in Las Vegas this season when they face the Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Last year, the stadium made headlines for the droves of opposing fans that traveled to see their teams on the road. Texans fans looking to make a road trip will definitely be circling the Vegas game on their calendar in 2022.
5. Old Faces, New Places
Houston will face familiar quarterbacks with new teams this year. In addition to the aforementioned Wilson in a Broncos uniform, the Texans will have to look no farther than the AFC South. The Colts traded for 15-year-veteran Matt Ryan this offseason after opening the past five seasons with a new quarterback: Carson Wentz (2021), Philip Rivers (2020), Jacoby Brissett (2019), Scott Tolzien (2017) and Andrew Luck (2016).
At home, the Texans will see Deshaun Watson play for the first time in a Browns uniform and Carson Wentz under center for the Washington Commanders.
6. Old Faces, New Places (WR Edition)
Some of the league's top wideouts changed teams this offseason. How will they perform with a new quarterback throwing to them? The Texans will find out when Derek Carr and Adams (Las Vegas), Patrick Mahomes and Smith-Schuster (Kansas City), Tua Tagovailoa and Tyreek Hill (Miami), Watson and Amari Cooper (Cleveland), Trevor Lawrence and Christian Kirk (Jacksonville). And Deebo Samuel – might he end up on the Texans schedule in 2022?
7. Dallas. Period.
Playing the Cowboys in the regular season is always a marquee matchup for Texas. Remember when visiting Texans fans forced Tony Romo into a silent count at home in 2014?