2022 Houston Texans Schedule: Full Listing of Dates, Times and TV InfoMay 13, 2022
The Deshaun Watson saga is finally over, but it might get worse before it gets better for the Houston Texans.
Houston finished 4-13 in 2021 as Watson missed the entire season after multiple women accused him of sexual assault or misconduct.
After a grand jury declined to indict Watson in the criminal cases, the three-time Pro Bowler was traded to the Cleveland Browns for three first-round picks, as well as third- and fourth-round picks.
But the rebuild isn't going to happen overnight. General manager Nick Caserio seems to be setting the table for 2023.
Incumbent starting quarterback Davis Mills will have another season to prove himself after throwing for 2,664 yards, 16 touchdowns and 10 interceptions as a rookie. Houston hasn't been a major player in free agency, either, which sets the team up to have a bounty of salary cap space next spring.
Much like his predecessor, David Culley, new Texans head coach Lovie Smith is inheriting a difficult situation. He's at the helm of a team that's expected to be among the worst in the league, and he might only be a placeholder for somebody who better matches the organization's long-term vision.
Watching a young team develop can always be fun and makes any success later more satisfying. But Houston's strategy is likely to result in a lot of losses in 2022.
2022 Houston Texans Schedule
Depending on his availability, Watson could make his return to NRG Stadium this season as a member of the Browns.
Because the NFL has yet to levy any suspension in regard to the civil suits, the potential remains for him to miss a chunk of the upcoming campaign. That could rule Watson out for Cleveland's clash with his old team.
The Texans and their AFC South brethren have the misfortune of getting drawn against the AFC West, which is shaping up to be the best division in the league.
The Kansas City Chiefs might take a step backward following the Tyreek Hill trade, yet it might not even mean much in terms of the AFC West's collective strength.
The Denver Broncos acquired quarterback Russell Wilson to address their most glaring need. The Los Angeles Chargers added pass-rusher Khalil Mack and cornerback J.C. Jackson to strengthen their defense. And even the Las Vegas Raiders got Davante Adams and Chandler Jones to insert themselves into the Super Bowl discussion.
Basically, having to face off with the AFC West could mean four losses for the Texans right there.
Houston also has a road trip to the Dallas Cowboys that won't be easy and a home test against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Perhaps the Texans struck gold with Mills in the third round of last year's draft. Or maybe Smith executes one of the best coaching jobs of the last decade or so.
Absent that, there isn't much for Houston to play for, and that appears to be by design. The front office has done little to improve a roster that finished with the third-worst record in the NFL in 2021.
Potentially finishing with a top-five pick offers something in the way of a reward for what amounts to another lost season.
To that end, a tilt with the Chicago Bears could be meaningful because the Bears are similarly stuck treading water in the short term. The outcome of the game could have first-round implications.
The New York Giants are in the same position because it will take more than one offseason to undo all of the damage from the Dave Gettleman era. New York might be stiff competition for the No. 1 overall pick in 2023.