Steelers & Colt McCoy visit
Schedule sadness? Houston Texans snubbed by MNF, lockout could put Colts game indoubt
If the NFL lockout extends into the regular season — and that's still a very distinct possibility — it could end up costing Houston Texans' fans a doozy of a game.
Yes, it's NFL Schedule unveiling night, but what's usually an unbridled celebration cannot help but be a little more muted this time thanks to the NFL's labor war. The Texans found out their full slate of games like usual, but there's uncertainty over whether they'll get to play them all.
Considering that Houston is scheduled to open up with arguably its best home game of the season — a Sept. 11 date with the still-hated Indianapolis Colts — losing a game or two could sting even more in the Bayou City. Coming off a 6-10 season, the Texans do not have the daunting slate they faced last season. Their 2011 schedule ties for the 10th toughest in the league with their opponents going a combined 132-124 last season.
Still, the national TV decision makers aren't exactly believers in Bob McNair's new Gary Kubiak-Wade Phillips coaching tag team. For the second straight season, Houston's team will not make a single appearance on Sunday Night Football (the NFL's real glory spot these days) and the Texans are also being ignored by Monday Night Football, which featured their home game vs. the Ravens (the manic comeback and overtime pick-6 game) in 2010.
The Texans' only prime-time game will be a Thursday nighter (broadcast by the NFL Network) at Indianapolis on Dec. 22.
There is some good news on the lockout schedule front though. After the scheduled Reliant Stadium opener vs. the Colts, Houston goes on the road for two straight weeks (at Miami and New Orleans) before returning to play a Oct. 2 home game against the defending AFC Champion Pittsburgh Steelers. It will be a shock if that marquee Reliant matchup is impacted by the labor strife.
More highlights of the Reliant slate include an Oct. 9 visit from the Oakland Raiders, a Nov. 6 game vs. Cleveland and presumably former Longhorns quarterback Colt McCoy and a Dec. 4 matchup with NFC power Atlanta. The Texans close the regular season with a home game against the Tennessee Titans on Jan. 1, a day traditionally thought of as college football's.
The full Houston Texans 2011 schedule:
Sept. 11 vs. Indianapolis Colts, noon
Sept. 18 at Miami Dolphins, 3:15 p.m.
Sept. 25 at New Orleans Saints, noon
Oct. 2 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, noon
Oct. 9 vs. Oakland Raiders, noon
Oct. 16 at Baltimore Ravens, 3:05 p.m.
Oct. 23 at Tennessee Titans, noon
Oct. 30 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, noon
Nov. 6 vs. Cleveland Browns, noon
Nov. 13 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, noon
Nov. 20, Bye week
Nov. 27 at Jacksonville Jaguars, noon
Dec. 4 vs. Atlanta Falcons, noon
Dec. 11 at Cincinnati Bengals, noon
Dec. 18 vs. Carolina Panthers, noon
Dec. 22 at Indianapolis Colts, 7:20 p.m.
Jan. 1 vs. Tennessee Titans, noon