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Now that the 2014 regular season schedule has been announced, we can start breaking down some of the most intriguing subplots of the upcoming year.
Much has changed since the Houston Texans last took the field, as the 2014 squad will feature a new head coach and several new players.
But, what about the players coming to play at soon to be NRG stadium next year? We look at the top five most intriguing below.
1. Andrew Luck
Was there any question? The Houston native comes to town on October 9th, the third time he'll play in his hometown during his career. Luck, the top overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, has had an impressive two-year start under center for Indianapolis.
A look at the stadiums the Houston Texans will travel to during the 2015 season.
After setting three rookie records in 2012, Luck improved in several areas last year. The talented signal caller completed 60 percent of his passes last year, up from 54 percent as a rookie. His passer rating was 87, tossing for 23 touchdowns against only nine interceptions. Luck engineered a comeback against the Texans last year, rallying his squad from a 21-3 deficit to pick up a 27-24 win.
2. Robert Griffin III
My second choice was selected right after Luck in that famed 2012 NFL Draft, as Robert Griffin III will play in Houston this season. Griffin, who played collegiately at Baylor, is one of the most exciting players in the entire league. The Texans will open at home against Griffin and the Washington Redskins on September 7th.
The former Bear owns a cannon arm and 4.4 speed, a rare combination of athleticism at the quarterback position. Griffin III struggled in 2013 after returning from a significant knee injury sustained in the previous playoffs. Despite bouts of ineffectiveness, Griffin still threw for 3200 yards in his sophomore season in the NFL. Griffin's talent is immense, and with new weapons on offense (Desean Jackson among them), he is definitely one to be excited to see in Houston next year.
3. A.J. Green
Quick, name the top five receivers in the NFL.
Calvin Johnson? Larry Fitzgerald? Andre Johnson? Who else?
Luckily for Texans fans, not only will they get to watch Johnson play, but they'll also see Cincinnati's A.J. Green on November 23rd, who definitely deserves to be in any discussion of top wide outs in the league. In just three seasons as a Bengal, Green has 260 receptions and 3,833 yards. Last year Green was fifth in the NFL in receiving yards (1426) and sixth in receptions (98). He had 100 yards receiving in six different games in 2013; Green is a true vertical threat, averaging 14.7 yards per catch in his career.
4. LeSean McCoy
The leading rusher in the NFL last season will play in Houston next season, as Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean 'Shady' McCoy will visit on November 2nd. McCoy ran for 1,607 yards in 2014, averaging right at 100 yards per game. McCoy can definitely hit the home run, as he had nine runs over 20 yards and three over 40 yards.
A two-time All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection, McCoy has solidified the backfield in Philadelphia. He holds the Eagles single-season records for rushing (1,607) and yards from scrimmage (2,146). He was also named NFC Offensive Player of the Year by the NFL 101 Awards.
5. Gary Kubiak
I know, Gary Kubiak isn't a player, but you can't tell me that his return to Houston with the Baltimore Ravens on December 21st won't be intriguing. The former Texans head coach spent eight years on the sidelines here, and is the most successful head coach in franchise history. He led the Texans to their only playoff appearances, and was a fixture in the city during his tenure.
Seeing Kubiak in purple will be intriguing for sure, and should illicit lots of emotions for Texans fans. Should be an interesting Sunday.