Each season, players circle a game on their calendar. For newly-signed players, it’s often that first game against their former team. For others, it’s facing a family member or returning home. The Houston Texans 2019 schedule doesn’t disappoint with some top-notch reunion games to watch this fall:
Week 1: At New Orleans Saints
Texans starting left guard Senio Kelemete spent five seasons with the New Orleans Saints (2013-17) before signing with Houston last year. On Sept. 9, he’ll face his former team for the first time. Former Texans right tackle Derek Newton signed with New Orleans last year and in Week 17 played his first game since suffering a brutal double patellar tendon injury in 2016 at Denver.
Week 2: Jacksonville Jaguars
After three seasons in Jacksonville, safety Tashaun Gipson Sr. remained in the AFC South, where he has an opportunity to face his former team twice a year. The eight-year veteran and Texas native will do so for the first time when the Texans host the Jaguars on Sept. 15. Expect a large cheering section for Gipson, who says his family and friends love the fact that he’s just a three-hour drive to watch in person. For the Jaguars, running back Alfred Blue will suit up against Houston, the team that drafted him in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Week 3: At Los Angeles Chargers
On Sept. 22, J.J. Watt will face one of his brothers in an NFL game for the first time in his career. The star defensive lineman will line up against Chargers fullback Derek Watt when the Chargers host the Texans. Both teams played in Week 12 of the 2016 season, but J.J. was out of the starting lineup recovering from back surgery. In 2017, he was on the sideline for the Christmas Day game against T.J. Watt and the Pittsburgh Steelers, placed on injured reserve for a gruesome tibial plateau fracture. Expect a lot of Watt trash-talking the week leading up to the game, with plenty of photo ops before, during and after the game.
Week 4: Carolina Panthers
The family reunion tour continues one week later when second-year starting safety Justin Reid faces off against his older brother, Eric at NRG Stadium. Eric Reid, a seven-year veteran safety, is in his second season with Carolina and started 13 games last year.
It’s also a reunion for offensive tackle Matt Kalil who will play against his former Panthers teammates. Kalil spent the last two seasons in Carolina before signing a one-year deal with Houston in free agency.
Week 6: At Kansas City
Newly signed with the Chiefs, Tyrann Mathieu’s stint in Houston lasted only one season, but he still made an impact in the locker room and on the field. Named a team captain shortly after his arrival, Mathieu quickly emerged as a leader on defense and was well-liked among his teammates.
Right guard Zach Fulton heads back to Kansas City for the first time as a Texan. Drafted by the Chiefs in 2014, Fulton spent the entirety of his NFL career in Kansas City before signing with Houston last year. The sixth-year veteran offensive lineman started 13 regular season games and the Wild Card Round at right guard in 2018.
Week 13: New England
Aside from all the coaching reunions between Bill Belichick, Bill O’Brien, Romeo Crennel, among others on the Texans coaching staff, a few new faces are on the Patriots roster this time around. The Texans defense may see a pair of former wide receivers on Dec. 1, Demaryius Thomas and Bruce Ellington who signed with New England this offseason.
Week 14: Denver
Seeing Kareem Jackson run out of the visitor's tunnel at NRG Stadium will be a new experience for Jackson as well as Texans fans. The Broncos landed the ten-year veteran safety/cornerback, a former 2010 first-round draft selection, in free agency. Meanwhile, the Texans added cornerback Bradley Roby, 2014 first-round pick for Denver, who had two solo tackles and three passes defensed during the Broncos' 2015 Super Bowl championship.
To see the complete 2019 Houston Texans schedule, click here.