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Houston Texans' 2012 Primetime Schedule A Sign Of Faith From The NFL

With four nationally televised games in 2012, most notably as the Thanksgiving Day opponent of the Detroit Lions - it's clear the NFL doesn't view Houston's 2011 success as temporary. The Texans' four primetime games are the most of any team in their "transitioning" division - the Titans received two, and the Colts and Jags will play a Thursday night contest November 8, the only primetime date for either club.

Better yet, the games selected (Thanksgiving vs. the Lions, Sunday night contests vs. Chicago and Green Bay, Monday Night against the Jets) aren't tied to a particular off-field storyline or non-football issue. In other words, the league and its partner networks consider the Texans a strong enough draw on their own to carry primetime programming. As interesting as Mario Williams' return date as a Buffalo Bill might be, the league opted to pit Houston against other quality playoff (and near-playoff) opponents.

In the high-flash branding and marketing of the modern NFL, such a vote of confidence in a franchise with one playoff appearance in its young history is a major endorsement, and just as important as the Texans' 2011 AFC South title.

Get more Houston Texans news at Battle Red Blog and SB Nation's NFL page.

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