2016 Houston Texans preseason schedule could set up joint practices

The NFL released the preseason schedule on Thursday. Dates and times haven’t been announced, but here’s a first look at the opponents for the Houston Texans:

Week 1 (Aug. 11-15) at San Francisco 49ers

Comment: After what's expected to be a blissfully uneventful preseason at the quarterback position, the Texans should get a first look at new quarterback Brock Osweiler in a (sort of) real game. Keep an eye out, too, for the possibility that the Texans do a joint practice with the 49ers. Texans coach Bill O'Brien likes to schedule one or two of those. He did joint practices with the Falcons and Broncos in 2014 and a few sessions with Washington last year. San Francisco coach Chip Kelly did them all three years while he was in Philadelphia. Kelly and O'Brien also have a relationship.

Week 2 (Aug. 18-22) vs. New Orleans Saints

Comment: This will mark the eighth time in nine years the Texans and Saints meet in the preseason. Keep an eye out here, too, for joint practices. The Saints and Texans had scheduled joint practices last season but New Orleans backed out. Their reversal happened just after the Texans were selected for "Hard Knocks." While the Saints said their decision had nothing to do with the show, that line was hard to believe.

Week 3 (Aug. 28) vs. Arizona Cardinals

Comment: Typically the most important preseason game in which starters get the most work, the Texans will get to see how the pieces are coming together. The NFC West champion Cardinals offer a strong challenge. Although the Texans were also division champions, Arizona did it with a 13-3 record and made it to the NFC Championship Game. This game will be nationally televised on Fox.

Week 4 (Sept. 1-2) at Dallas Cowboys

Comment: Another common opponent for the Texans and a short trip for their final preseason game. This game will help the Texans sort out the bottom of the roster. You're unlikely to see the stars for most of the preseason, but it's possible many of the starters won't even dress for the fourth preseason game.