This Sunday the Houston Texans (8-3) will host the Cleveland Browns (4-6-1). Kickoff is set for 1:00 EST at NRG Stadium and will be televised locally on CBS.
Oddsmakers currently have the Texans listed as a 6-point home favorite with the total set at 47.5 points. Click here for a full betting schedule and for more links to our game previews.
Browns vs Texans Vegas Odds & Game Preview
Cleveland is on a roll. The Browns have won back-to-back. The first time they have done that since rolling off three straight way back in 2014. Last week’s 35-20 win at Cincinnati also ended a streak of 25-straight road losses. While it might be a little too late to catch Pittsburgh for the AFC North crown, Cleveland is definitely in the mix for that final Wild Card spot, as the Colts and Ravens are tied for it at just 6-5.
It’s hard to believe the Texans started out 0-3, as Houston secured their 8th straight win with an impressive 34-17 win and cover at home against the Titans on Monday Night Football. Much like Amari Cooper had his breakout game in Dallas, Demaryius Thomas hauled in 4 passes for 38 yards and score scores in the Texans win over Tennessee. A win this week at home over Cleveland and a victory at home next week over the Colts and Houston should be able to coast to a division title over the final few weeks.
These two teams met in the regular-season last year and the Texans won 33-17 at home as a 7.5-point favorite. That’s the only other meeting between the two teams over the last 4 years.
Free Pro Football Pick Against the Spread: Browns +6
My early lean here would be to grab the points with Cleveland. Say what you want about Hue Jackson, the fact of the matter is interim head coach Gregg Williams has a chance to win his third game in just four tries at this thing. Jackson won just 3 times in 40 attempts. I don’t know how else to put it, other than Jackson was holding this team back.
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Another thing you can’t overlook with the Browns is the talent they have at quarterback in Baker Mayfield. Since they fired Jackson and OC Todd Haley, he’s been a different quarterback. Not only has he thrown 7 touchdowns to just on interception in 3 games, but he’s completing a higher percentage of his passes and has almost doubled his yards/pass attempt.
Houston’s better built to stop the run than the pass, as they come into this game ranked 15th in the NFL, giving up 259.1 ypg. Something else that I think is interesting to note and likely has a lot to do with the Texans 8-3 record. It’s been a pretty easy go of things in terms of quarterbacks faced this year.
In the 8-win winning streak they have faced the likes of Marcus Mariota, Alex Smith, Case Keenum, Brock Osweiler, Blake Bortles, Josh Allen, Dak Prescott (prior to adding Cooper), and Andrew Luck. The only one I think is anywhere close to elite is Luck and they got him in his 3rd start back after missing the entire season. They only beat Indy by 3, were trailing with 2 minutes to play and Luck threw for 464 yards and 4 scores.
Something else to note with this favorable stretch is that 5 of the 8 wins came by a touchdown or less. I’m not trying to say the Texans aren’t a good team, I just think they are way overvalued right now and not that much better than the Browns, if at all. I certainly wouldn’t be shocked if Cleveland won this game.
Also, I think people are sleeping on this Cleveland defense. They gave up 37 in their first under Gregg Williams, but that was a tough spot for Williams, as he had to not only had to get the defense ready against the best offense in the league, but also juggle his new responsibility of head coach. In the two games since he’s held Matt Ryan and the Falcons to just 16 points and 20 points to the Bengals, all of which came after it was 28-0 in favor of the Browns. Give me the Browns +6!