Texans vs Browns Prediction: Flacco and D to lead Cleveland to victory

 | December 23 | 

4 mins read

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The live Sky Sports game in the early window this Sunday is a matchup with AFC playoffs implications as the Browns travel to Houston to take on the Texans.

@NFLGirlUK is here with her match preview and we've picked out a couple of bets for you to consider...

Texans vs Browns Betting Tips:

  • Back Cleveland Browns -4.5pts on the Alternative Line 2 @ 7/5
  • Back Houston Texans under 18 points @ 21/20

The Cleveland Browns will tangle with the Houston Texans in a matchup of teams that have countless injuries. This includes the starting quarterbacks, as this’ll be a battle between Joe Flacco and Case Keenum as opposed to Deshaun Watson and CJ Stroud.

Starting off with the Browns, Flacco has rejuvenated this entire offense. They are sitting at 9-5 on the year with a one-game lead over the remainder of the Wild Card teams in the AFC. The team got 374 passing yards out of Flacco in their last win over the Chicago Bears, including 212 in just the fourth quarter. That was a mistake-laden game for Flacco, yet he pulled it out in the end with some critical throws when his team needed them the most.

When it comes to winning big games, Flacco is the right guy for the job. After all, he is a former Super Bowl MVP and champion, starting in 15 postseason games throughout his career as well. Injuries have hurt them across the board, but it helps that they boast three cornerbacks in the top five when it comes to limiting opposing quarterbacks.

Throwing the ball against these guys is incredibly difficult, and it can get even worse if Denzel Ward returns from his injury that’s held him out for a few games.

Flipping to the Texans now, they’re in a different situation. As opposed to the Browns, the Texans entered the year with minimal expectations. Cleveland could endure the injuries due to a very talented roster, but Houston doesn’t have the depth and star power required to stay afloat, especially without Stroud on the field. They won last week with Keenum at the helm, though he didn’t have a very strong game.

He threw for 229 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Among those yards came a horribly thrown jump-ball that would get intercepted nine times out oof ten. Instead, Dalton Schultz came down with it and they scored that drive to go into overtime.

Keenum can’t keep making those mistakes down the stretch. It’s imperative that he doesn’t, given how great the Browns secondary has played lately. Luckily, he has experience of his own across his 11-year career, playing for seven different teams.

In fact, Keenum actually played for the Browns in 2020 and in 2021. What worries me with the former University of Houston man is that he’ll fall into a hole early against this Cleveland defense, and the Texans as a whole are too injured to keep up. Stroud gave these guys an edge that they might be missing.

If I’m picking this game, I’m taking the Browns. Flacco should take control of this game very early on and once that happens this group won’t look back.

There’s a reason why people consider the Browns to be a Super Bowl calibre team, while the Texans are still a few years away even with the emergence of CJ Stroud under Center. Take Stroud away, and their chances look far slimmer than they would be otherwise.

Match Odds:

That key fact of the absence of CJ Stroud is in large-part why despite playing at home, the Houston Texans come into this game as the underdogs. They are 5/4 on the Money Line with the Cleveland Browns available to back at 4/6. The spread has been set with the visitors being given a 2.5pt handicap.

Neither offense is considered to be elite but the defenses on show should be good, that adds up to a Total Points line just under the weekly average at 40.5.

Bet 1 - Cleveland Browns -4.5pts on the Alternative Line 2 @ 7/5

Similiar to the Saturday game I've already previewed, I'm taking my pick and boosting them on the handicap by two points to give me a 7/5 price. These are two teams are going in different directions as the season reaches crunch-point and I'm taking Flacco to lead his team with a strong effort from the D to an important road victory.

Bet 2 - Houston Texans under 18 points @ 21/20

The lack of CJ Stroud under Center just gives me real concerns, certainly going up against a top-calibre pass-rush that the Cleveland Browns possess. I just don't think the home side have the skill players to get seperation and give Case Keenum much of a chance to put up a pile of points.

If they fall behind early and have to rely on throwing the rock, it won't end well.

Remember to check out our NFL Betting Tips index page where we preview games live on Sky Sports...

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