Your streaking Houston Texans (8-3) will be gunning for their ninth (NINTH!) win in a row Sunday against the steadily-improving Cleveland Browns (4-6-1) at NRG Stadium. The Texans are going to have to be weary of an emotional letdown after an emotional and overwhelming victory against those soft clowns from wherever on Monday night.
Houston best not sleep on this Cleveland team, especially with yet another divisional home game on the horizon next week against the Colts. Let’s just see how the staff sees this one playing out, shall we?
Chris: Texans 27, Browns 24.
Why. WHY can’t I just accept that the Texans are a legitimately good team? Why do I continue to envision each game, no matter the opponent, as a stressful, ugly slog that ends with a made or missed field goal? I know there’s precedent baked into my paranoia, but dammit this team has flat-out dominated in its last two home games. The Browns are a couple games under .500.... and yet, when I see Baker Mayfield, I see a guy who could give the Texans fits. We are all pretty much aligned that the Texans’ defense is likely to struggle against top-flight quarterbacks (hint - almost everyone does) but what about Mayfield? Well, he’s not the most accurate passer, but he’s getting better in that realm. He’s mobile, and has shown a Deshaun Watson-like penchant for making plays off-schedule. His offensive line suddenly has protected him very well in the last month.
In his last three games, Mayfield has a 74% completion percentage, nine TDs, one interception, and a 129.5 passer rating.
All that said, Mayfield hasn’t faced anything like the Texans defensive line, and oh my what a line it has been. I do think this game will once again go down to the wire, but that’s how I pick all Texans games these days. If the Texans can keep that running game rolling against Cleveland and ensure Myles Garrett isn’t teeing off on #4, I like their chances to get it done with a bit more breathing room than my predicted score indicates.
MDC: Texans 27, Browns 17.
I think this game will be closer than anyone wants, but that Houston will pull it out in the end with a pick-six or fumble-return TD to seal it late. Also, either Clowney or Watt is getting three sacks.
Titan Matt Weston, Slanderer of Blade Runner and a Huge Fan of the Texas Rangers: Texans 20, Browns 16.
The Browns have the 9th most rushing attempts in football. Baker does throw it downfield but can sometimes sit on short stuff.
Mike Bullock: Texans 38, Browns 17.
Yes, I drank some Kool-Aid last week. Yes, I still firmly believe the Browns will find a way to keep being the Browns. No, I don’t think this is a “trap game” cause the Texans players are too darn fired up and seeing them rally after going down 10-0 quickly last week means the Browns are about to get blackened.
BFmf’nD: Browns 24, Texans 16.
The Browns are the first non-soft team we’ve played in a while, thanks to our lucky as heck schedule. With Hue Jackson’s departure, the offense has improved greatly, thanks to taking the leash off of Baker Mayfield, who looks completely different. The Browns no longer rely solely on the run game, so Big Matt’s flowchart gets thrown out.
Duke Johnson and David Njoku create massive match-up problems for us, and we are playing one of the better defenses we’ll see this year (currently 8th by DVOA). Plus, outliers against Miami and the BE-SFs do not mean a trend.
Capt. Ron: Texans 24, Browns 21.
Houston wins an ugly battle as Cleveland misses a field goal attempting to tie at the end of regulation.
Kenneth L.: Texans 19, Browns 17.
Browns are going to sucker punch us early. Duke Johnson Jr. is a tough mamba and will surprise this defense. I could see this game going into OT and the Texans miraculously win. Or the Browns blow it. Same difference.
8 wins is honestly a miracle and I don’t think it will last forever, but maybe one more week is fine.
Looks like we are (mostly) in agreement this will be a close one. Great. I have gotten to where I expect to be sweating while sitting on a couch at 3PM on a Sunday afternoon.
How do you see this one going, BRB? I’m curious to see if the overall feeling is on trend with ours, a close victory, or are you a well-adjusted, healthy person who allows yourself to believe the Texans can simply blowout a seemingly-inferior team at home?
Use the comments section below to predict Sunday’s game and perhaps to comfort my mushy, nervous football brain.