Scheduling plays a huge role in the outcome of every NFL season. So the Athlon NFL editors will spend the next month dissecting each and every week of the 2012 slate for all 32 teams in the league.
Houston Texans 2012 Schedule:
Week 1: Miami
Week 2: at Jacksonville
Week 3: at Denver
Week 4: Tennessee
Week 5: at New York Jets (Mon.)
Week 6: Green Bay
Week 7: Baltimore
Week 8: BYE
Week 9: Buffalo
Week 10: at Chicago
Week 11: Jacksonville
Week 12: at Detroit (Thurs.)
Week 13: at Tennessee
Week 14: at New England (Mon.)
Week 15: Indianapolis
Week 16: Minnesota
Week 17: at Indianapolis
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- Houston gets to ease itself into the 2012 season as the Texans open up at home against Miami and then go to Jacksonville the first two weeks. After that, however, the breaks in the schedule in terms of level of competition are few until the last three weeks of the season.
- The Texans will play all four teams from the AFC East and NFC North this season, which means a Week 14 must-see match up against New England, along with a Week 6 visit from Green Bay and trips to both Chicago and Detroit, the latter coming on Thanksgiving Day. The game against the Patriots not only comes on the defending AFC East champions' home turf, it could go a long ways towards determing home-field advantage for the AFC playoffs. This could be crucial should these two teams meet up again in the postseason. The Texans' other AFC East road game is against the Jets in New York on Monday night. This game precedes the looming match up with Green Bay.
- There could be as many as three playoff teams coming from the NFC North, which adds to the intensity level for Houston's games against Green Bay, Chicago and Detroit. It's also possible that the Texans' Week 6 contest against the Packers ends up being a preview of Super Bowl XLVII. Houston also has the tough task of facing both the Bears and Lions on their respective home turfs.
- Besides the AFC East and NFC North, the Texans' two floating games this season are at Denver and against Baltimore. The Broncos are expected to contend in the AFC West with Peyton Manning, who went 16-2 against Houston when he was with Indianapolis, now running the offense. The Week 7 date with the Ravens follows the Texans' meeting with the Packers the previous week, and represents a rematch from last season's AFC Divisional playoff game, which Houston lost 20-13 in Baltimore.
- Houston's bye in Week 8 comes at a good time as the Texans will be coming off of consecutive games against the Packers and Ravens. Following the bye, Houston gets Buffalo at home before going to Chicago to take on the Bears.
- Starting with the Week 12 Thanksgiving Day match up with Detroit, Houston will play four of its final six games on the road. The Texans have three straight road games from Weeks 12-14 — at Detroit, Tennessee and New England. After the Monday night showdown with the Patriots, the Texans get to finish the season by facing Indianapolis twice and hosting Minnesota. If things go as expected to this point, Houston should be in prime position to make sure everyone is healthy and ready to go as the Texans set their sights on Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.
Fantasy Focus: No doubt Houston running back Arian Foster will be a first-round pick this season, if not the No. 1 overall selection, but he's not the only Texan offensive player who could pay off for fantasy owners, especially come playoff time. Houston's opponents from Weeks 14-16, which is typically when most fantasy leagues are conducting their playoffs, are New England, Minnesota and Indianapolis. These three teams ranked among the top 17 in terms of fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers last season. More specifically, the Patriots and Vikings finished first and second in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers in 2011, while the Vikings surrendered the most to quarterbacks with the Patriots ranking fourth. Indianapolis actually fared the best overall among the three in terms of these categories (14th-most to quarterbacks, 17th to wide receivers), but the Colts did allow the third-most fantasy points to running backs. The only caveat to this seemingly appetizing fantasy playoff schedule is that it's entirely possible that Houston could be resting its starters by Week 15 or 16, depending on their postseason outlook. If that is the case, backup running back Ben Tate would see his value soar with Foster on the sidelines.
— by Mark Ross, published on June 18, 2012
2012 Athlon Sports NFL team-by-team schedule analysis: