As the good teams in the National Football League prepare for the beginning of the postseason this weekend, the remaining 18 teams, one of which is the Houston Texans, look ahead to their own version of the postseason — the draft, free agency, POSSIBLE coaching changes, and the 2022 schedule.
There will be plenty of time to analyze the three former items on that list, but with the finality of the 2021 season this past Sunday, we now know, at least, who and where the Texans will be playing all 17 regular season games in 2022. The "when" is yet to be determined, but let's look and see who the opponents will be next season:
at Indianapolis, vs Indianapolis
at Jacksonville, vs Jacksonville
at Tennessee, vs Tennessee
These six games are fixtures on the schedule every year. Until the NFL decides to add more teams, shuffle the divisional makeup, or change the scheduling format, you can count on double tussles with the hated Titans, hated Colts, and sad and pathetic Jaguars every season.
AFC DIVISION CROSSOVER
vs Kansas City
vs Los Angeles Chargers
at Las Vegas
NFC DIVISION CROSSOVER
at New York Giants
Each season, the Texans play the full slate of one AFC division and one NFC division. For 2022, it's the AFC West and the NFC North, so the main event in this portion of the schedule, obviously, is a trip to Arlington to face off against the Cowboys. In the regular season, this only happens once every eight years, so plan accordingly, Texan fans!
AFC VARIABLE OPPONENTS
17th GAME NFC OPPONENT
The remaining three games of the 17-game schedule are variable, based on ranking within the division in 2021, so the Texans, who finished in third place in the AFC South in 2021, get the third place team in the AFC East (Miami), the third place team in the AFC North (Cleveland), and for the seventeenth game, they get the third place team in the NFC North from TWO seasons ago (Chicago).
A few thoughts on this slate of games:
The Deshaun Watson Factor looms large among these opponents
By my estimate, there are at least six teams on the Texans' 2022 schedule who could be in on trade talks for Deshaun Watson — Miami, Denver, Cleveland, Washington, Philadelphia, and my personal favorite, the New York Giants, who have the fifth and seventh overall picks in the upcoming draft.
This might be the best road trip friendly schedule in Texans history
If you're a Texans fan who is just looking for a good time on the road this season and not too wrapped up in the results of the games (because the results are going to be ugly again next season), there are some fun trips on the docket. Outside of the three division games, the other six road trips are to Las Vegas (gambling!), Denver (mountains!), New York (the Big Apple!), Dallas (stopping at Buc-ee's on the drive up!), Miami (South Beach!), and Chicago (deep dish pizza!).
This is an entertaining group of opposing quarterbacks!
If Davis Mills is going to be the Texans' starting quarterback in 2022, he will be facing an interesting crew of opposing signal callers. You have two AFC Pro Bowlers in Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert, an NFC Pro Bowler in Dak Prescott, and three games against two of his fellow 2021 draft classmates in Justin Fields and Trevor Lawrence (twice).
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.