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Texans-Patriots reunite in Thursday primetime game

Bill O'Brien will return to Gillette Stadium on Sept. 22 to face the New England Patriots for the first time as a visiting coach.

The Texans are scheduled for a Thursday Night Football primetime matchup against the Tom Brady and the Patriots in Week 3, according the official 2016 NFL schedule release.

Along with O'Brien, offensive coordinator George Godsey and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel also have been a part of the Bill Belichick coaching staff. Two position coaches had successful playing careers in New England from 2001-08: linebackers coach Mike Vrabel and special teams coach Larry Izzo, who joined the Texans staff this offseason. Both earned three Super Bowl championships (2001, 2003, and 2004) during their tenure with the Patriots. Vrabel is also currently one of three finalists for the 2016 New England Hall of Fame.

Vince Wilfork, who spent 11 seasons in New England, played against his former teammates last December at NRG Stadium. The defensive tackle returns as a member of the visiting team this fall, after being named to the Pro Bowl roster five times and earning two Super Bowl rings with New England. Quarterback Brian Hoyer played for the Patriots from 2009-11, during O'Brien and Godsey's tenures on the coaching staff. 

O'Brien's five seasons with New England and all the connections to the Patriots won't affect how he views the 2016 schedule and his first trip back to Gillette Stadium.

"For us as coaches, every game is important," O'Brien said in an exclusive interview with Texans TV.

The Texans-Patriots game is set for Thursday, Sept. 22 and will be broadcast on CBS, NFL Network, and streamed live on Twitter.

The Texans will travel 15,308 miles in the 2016 regular season, and play in these venues.

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