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Houston Texans 2022 schedule: Deshaun Watson makes his return in Week 13

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HOUSTON -- The Houston Texans 2022 schedule was released along with the rest of the NFL slate Thursday.

The season will kick off Thursday, Sept. 8, with the Los Angeles Rams hosting the Buffalo Bills at SoFi Stadium. ESPN opens its schedule with Monday Night Football on Sept. 12 featuring the Denver Broncos at the Seattle Seahawks.

The NFL expanded to 17 regular-season games last season, and the final regular-season games will be played Jan. 8, 2023. The playoffs begin Jan. 14 and continue through Super Bowl LVII on Feb. 12 in Glendale, Arizona.

Here's what's in store for the Texans:

Schedule

Sept. 11: vs. Indianapolis

Sept. 18: at Denver

Sept. 25: at Chicago

Oct. 2: vs. L.A. Chargers

Oct. 9: at Jacksonville

Oct. 16: Bye

Oct. 23: at Las Vegas

Oct. 30: vs. Tennessee

Nov. 3: vs. Philadelphia (TNF)

Nov. 13: at NY Giants

Nov. 20: vs. Washington

Nov. 27: at Miami

Dec. 4: vs. Cleveland

Dec. 11: at Dallas

Dec. 18: vs. Kansas City

Dec. 25: at Tennessee

Jan. 1: vs. Jacksonville

Jan. 8: at Indianapolis

Strength of schedule: 19th, .488

Biggest takeaway

Once again, the Texans are not a TV draw. Houston only has one primetime game for the second season in a row, appearing only on the mandatory Thursday Night Football game when they host the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 9. It makes sense, given how the Texans are coming off back-to-back four-win seasons and don’t have a star quarterback or many exciting playmakers on the roster. The biggest question is whether the Texans will be able to make enough strides this season to change that in 2023.

Revenge game

Week 13, when the Cleveland Browns visit the Texans. This is probably one that Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has had in his mind since he asked to be sent to Cleveland in March. Watson was traded more than a year after requesting a trade and after 23 civil cases accusing Watson of sexual assault and inappropriate behavior were filed. Of course, there’s a chance Watson does not play in this game because of a potential suspension related to the lawsuits.

What the oddsmakers think

The oddsmakers have the Texans win total at 4.5. Taking the over requires some faith in an improved offense behind quarterback Davis Mills, but even with a schedule that includes the tough AFC West, I’ll take the over in Houston.

Bold prediction

The Texans will enter their Week 6 bye at 2-3. Houston has three of those five games on the road but could win at the Chicago Bears and the Jacksonville Jaguars.