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Apparently, Houston is undefeated against the spread the last six times versus the Browns, so it might be smart to take all those points and hope it’s not a bloodbath in Cleveland.
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After a tumultuous offseason that essentially dethroned the Houston Texan’s franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson, new head coach David Culley is now starting journeyman Tyrod Taylor under center and last week he led Houston to victory with two TDs and no picks, a win that might come tougher against this upgraded Browns defense.
Kevin Stefanski’s Cleveland Browns might have beaten the mighty Kansas City Chiefs in Week 1 were it not for a few glaring mistakes in the second half, and now Baker Mayfield (and maybe a healthy Odell Beckham?) and Nick Chubb’s / Kareem Hunt’s killer running game take on these shaky Texans at home.
These two AFC teams have met each other 11 prior times, with the Cleveland Browns winning 4 of those games and the Houston Texans winning 7 of the games.
In Week 1, Texans’ receiver Brandin Cooks made QB Tyrod Taylor look good with five receptions for 132 yards, a production that he will have to bring into Cleveland against CB’s Denzel Ward and rookie Greg Newsome.
Houston running back Mark Ingram had 26 carries for 85 yards and a touchdown in Week 1, a success that might be tough to replicate in front of a Cleveland crowd watching their team’s first hometown game of the season.
But to outscore this talented Browns team, the Texans will have to get big games out of their playmakers including tight end Pharoah Brown offset by a solid pass rush that keeps Cleveland QB Baker Mayfield on his heels.
One of the main reasons the Browns failed to beat the Chiefs in Week 1after leading for most of the game was the fact that they began making critical mistakes in the second half of the ball game, including a Chubb fumble, a botched punt, and a Baker Mayfield interception on the final play.
To win in the NFL against its best teams, the Browns will have to be better and play mistake-free football in order to avoid beating themselves, and Sunday’s matchup with the Texans is the perfect place to begin practicing perfect execution.
Can they avoid pre-snap penalties and turnovers while forcing them on Houston all four quarters? This will be the perfect testing ground for that next level of play if these Browns expect to go further into the postseason.
The Texans lost star defensive end J.J. Watt over the offseason to free agency so now Houston’s pass rush is up to the other monsters on the line including Jordan Jenkins, a 6’3” 259 pound NFL veteran who can get after the opposing quarterback as well as anybody.
In his five full NFL seasons, Jenkins has accumulated 22.5 total sacks, 7 forced fumbles, and 46 quarterback hits plus 5 fumble recoveries so he will be key to a Texans victory over a Browns team with one of the best front lines in the league.
Jenkins is also solid against the run with 190 total tackles as an NFL player, a skill he will require all game as he faces the Browns dual-threat backfield consisting of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, two football carrying beasts that are hard to take down.
Looks like the Browns have found their version of Tyreek Hill, meaning an elite speedster deep threat that forces secondaries to cheat backward out of fear of being burned, with Cleveland’s ‘cheetah’ being rookie receiver Anthony Schwartz.
Taken in the third round with the 91st overall pick, Schwartz has world-class speed, literally, a former track star who set a new Boy’s World Youth Best of 10.15 seconds over 100 meters on March 31, 2017, and now Schwartz is stretching the field for the Browns as evidenced in Week 1
Against the Chiefs in his rookie debut, Schwartz broke away several times during the game posting 3 receptions for 69 yards and a 44-yard beauty that could have been a touchdown had the pass been on the mark, so look for him on Sunday to keep the Texans’ secondary on deep alert and if the speedy Odell Beckham is healthy and also manages to play, watch out.
|Texans vs Browns Information|
|Teams||Houston Texans vs Cleveland Browns|
|Location||FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio|
|Time||Sunday, September 19, 2021; 1:00 PM ET|
|How to watch||CBS|
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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