HOUSTON (CBS Houston)- The Texans, coming off their first playoff season, will be back on the national stage in record setting fashion in 2012. The NFL schedule for the coming season has the Texans in the spotlight for five nationally televised games, including two Sunday night games, two Monday night games and their first ever Thanksgiving Day appearance at Detroit.
The Texans begin the defense of their AFC South title at home against Miami on September 9. That’s followed by a road game at Jacksonville in week two.
The first of several intriguing matchups this fall has the Texans traveling to Denver on September 23. It will be their first game against longtime nemesis Peyton Manning who signed with the Broncos this offseason.
The schedule continues with a home game against the division rival Titans on September 30. Tennessee, coming off a 9-7 season, is considered the Texans main competition for the AFC South title heading into this season.
The next three games are the Texans toughest stretch of the season, at the Jets on Monday night, October 8, at home against Green Bay on Sunday night, October 14, and at home against the Ravens on October 21. The Texans will be out for revenge after Baltimore knocked them out of the playoffs in January.
After a week 8 bye for the Texans, Mario Williams will make his first appearance as a visitor in Reliant Stadium when the Bills come to Houston on November 4. Williams signed a six year, $100 million dollar contract with Buffalo in March.
Cold weather could be a factor as the Texans play the Bears in Chicago November 11. The last time the Texans played in the Windy City , they braved a sub-zero wind chill to beat the Bears 24-5.
The Texans play the Jaguars for the second time this season in Week 10, followed by their first Thanksgiving Day game in Detroit on November 22.
After a week 11 matchup with the Titans in Nashville, the Texans make their fifth appearance on national television December 10, against the Patriots.
Cold weather could be a factor in Foxboro as the Texans make their second Monday Night Football appearance of the season. The Patriots are coming off their first Super Bowl season in five years, a 21-17 loss to the Giants.
The Texans will likely face Stratford High School product Andrew Luck for the first time on December 16 at Reliant Stadium. Indianapolis is expected to make Luck the first pick in the upcoming NFL draft.
Their final home game of the regular season is December 23 against the Vikings. And they close the season on the road in a rematch with the Colts in Indianapolis on December 30.