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Texans Have Mixed Feelings About Hosting NFL Game 17

With the addition of a 17th regular season game from 2021 onwards, the Houston Texans are now set to host the Carolina Panthers.

For the first time since 1978, the NFL will not be playing a 16-game regular season.  On Tuesday, NFL owners approved the expansion of the regular season to 17 games, a long-expected decision that will generate additional revenue for all teams moving past the 2021 season. 

What does this mean for the Houston Texans? For now, another home game in 2021.

According to HoustonTexans.com, the 17th game will feature teams from opposing conferences that finished in the same place within their division the previous season. 

Houston finished third in the AFC South with a 4-12 record.  As such, the Texans will host the Carolina Panthers on a date currently unknown at the moment later this season. 

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Historically, Carolina has been a tough opponent for Houston since the arrival of the 32nd franchise in 2002. Currently, the Texans having lost the last three of their five matchups against the Queen City club, including a 16-10 loss in 2019.

From a player's standpoint, the reception to the added game from Texans have been mixed. David Johnson was among the names against an extra game, stating how it adds little value to the richest league in the country. 

"I was one that was advocating against it during our NFLPA summit," Johnson told reporters on a Zoom press conference Monday. "It’s tough because obviously the fans and everyone is excited to see more football, but as football players – especially as a running back – towards the end of the season it’s tough to get through injury-free and all the nicks, all the bruises and being bruised up." 

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Johnson, who missed four games last season due to COVID-19 and injury, won't be the only runner for Houston next season. Mark Ingram and Phillip Lindsay will be joining him in the backfield, helping lessen the workload in the newly elongated schedule.

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Meanwhile, Texans new offensive lineman Marcus Cannon is understanding of why the NFL and multiple players are excited about the confirmation of an extra game being added.

"I love playing the game, so whatever rules they put out there and however we have to go about them, that’s what I’m going to do," Cannon said.

If nothing else, the vastly meaningless fourth preseason game is no longer. 

All teams will still have one bye week despite the extra game. The season will begin on Thursday night, Sept. 9, and will conclude on Jan. 9, 2022. Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium will now be pushed back by one week, from Feb. 6 to Feb. 13, 2022.

The full 17-game schedule for Houston next season has yet to be released. 

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