Texans vs Browns Prediction: The end of the road for CJ’s rookie campaign

 | January 12 | 

5 mins read

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The playoffs are finally here and we start the six games this wildcard weekend with the Houston Texans hosting the Cleveland Browns.

@NFLGirlUK provides her match preview and we've picked out a couple of bets for you to consider heading into the game on Saturday evening, live on Sky Sports...

Texans vs Browns Betting Tips:

  • Back Cleveland Browns-2.5 on the Handicap @ 20/21
  • Back Amari Cooper to score anytime @ 13/10

The Cleveland Browns will be travelling to face off with the Houston Texans during Wild Card Weekend in what should be an exciting matchup. Some people are already claiming that this is one of the few games that is a genuine 50/50 when it comes to the potential winner. Let’s dive into each of these teams coming into the postseason.

The Browns turned the corner when they signed Joe Flacco to be their quarterback following Deshaun Watson’s injury. Flacco is a former Super Bowl MVP and champion, who’s played in the league for a very long time on some great teams. He knows what it takes to win, and he has the leadership qualities necessary to make a deep run.

This Browns team is one of the most talented that he’s been on in quite some time, and it’s shown with the way that he’s throwing touchdown passes. The concern in Cleveland is injuries, and that’s been happening all season long for them.

They were able to rest their starters during the regular season finale, but star cornerback Denzel Ward re-injured himself during practice and is questionable to suit up.

Without Ward, Cleveland will be looking for increased production from their other corners, who’ve stepped up big time in his previous absences. If this team is healthy, they are incredibly good.

As for the Texans, they will rely heavily on the heroics of rookie quarterback CJ Stroud. This team will go as far as Stroud can pull them, and he’s gotten them to a division title and a home playoff game already.

Now, losing Tank Dell for the season is a brutal blow to their passing attack, but Nico Collins has been phenomenal in his absence. Collins, Noah Brown, and Dalton Schultz have all been important to the Texans passing offense. On top of that, their run game has transformed down the second half of the year with Devin Singletary jumping Dameon Pierce on the depth chart.

Singletary has around 60 more carries than Pierce and is nearly doubling his yards per carry. This Houston offense is incredible, and we’ve seen it time and time again in 2023. The problem is defense.

The Browns beat the Texans a few weeks ago in the regular season, with Amari Cooper putting up over 200 receiving yards on these young cornerbacks. Houston is going to have to play tighter coverage against Flacco, because he’s going to tear them apart otherwise with their weapons.

Looking at this game, it’s hard to see Houston winning here. And that’s not saying they’re a bad team, it’s more so a bad match-up for a team that’s been over-performing all year long.

Stroud will make this competitive, but that previous match-up showed that the Texans defense isn’t ready for an experienced, talent-filled offense like what Cleveland has.

Houston getting home-field advantage could be a nice boost to their chances, though it just might be too much for them to overcome. Still, even a loss wouldn’t change how impressive this season has been for Houston.

Match Odds:

Despite being the home side, Houston have been given underdog status heading into this wildcard game. The market has the Browns-2.5 as the line and if you want to bet the Money Line, you'll get 8/11 for the visitors whilst the hosts are available at 23/20.

The Total Points line is maybe slightly high at 44.5 considering how fearsome the Browns D is. Cleveland come into this game as the #1 overall defense. No-one is shorter than Even-money to score a touchdown.

Bet 1 - Cleveland Browns-2.5 on the Handicap @ 20/21

I really do like Cleveland to get the job done here. The NFL is often about match-ups and this one really does favour the AFC North side. CJ Stroud has done an incredible job with that Houston Texans offense and whatever happens on Saturday, he should sit back in the off-season and reflect on an incredible rookie campaign.

A suffocating D and a veteran QB is a very good combination come January and Cleveland may well go even further.

Bet 2 - Amari Cooper to score anytime @ 13/10

When you look around the league, often rookie QBs look to their superstar receiver more than a veteran guy who surveys the field and gets it to the open man. In Cleveland, it has been the opposite, as Joe Flacco has struck up an immediate rapport with Amari Cooper.

In their regular season game at Houston on Christmas Eve, the two combined for 11 receptions on 15 targets for 265 yards and two scores. That is half-decent I suppose. Flacco will look to Cooper early and often and seeing him at odds-against to find pay dirt is one of the best prop bets across the whole weekend.

Remember to check out our NFL Betting Tips index page where we preview games live on Sky Sports along with a weekly Predictions column...

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