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Quick Hits: Cleveland Browns vs. Houston Texans Preview

The return of [NAME REDACTED 2.0]

Houston Texans v Cleveland Browns Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Just when Houston Texans fans thought this season couldn’t get much worse, the Cleveland Browns come to town with former Texans No. 1 pick Deshaun Watson at the helm.

Watson is returning for his first NFL action since he quit on the Texans almost two years ago. In an odd twist of NFL scheduling and suspension fates (or Roger Goodell funny business to drive TV ratings), Watson’s first game returning from suspension puts him right back on the field at NRG Stadium.

There’s a pretty solid chance the stadium parking lot will have plenty of protestors — most likely women’s rights groups who feel very, very wronged by the NFL’s treatment of Watson due to allegations that he sexually harassed and assaulted more than two dozen massage therapists, and people who stand in solidarity with these groups. Texans stand up for what’s right, and this was so wrong.

Texans fans who show up are also likely to boo the former QB, due to the above and the fact that he bailed on the City of Houston just prior to the explosion of legal cases.

Meanwhile, the Texans have their own woes to overcome, such as figuring out if Kyle Allen can actually operate Pep Hamilton’s dysfunctional offense. Or, if the o-line can open running lanes for rookie star Dameon Pierce to run through.

If Allen doesn’t have early success, is there any likelihood Lovie Smith pulls him for Davis Mills? Can Mills come in and spark this offense to do anything? Would Brandin Cooks, Nico Collins and the rest of the Texans passing attack respond if Mills hit the field?

We’re not likely to find out, since Caserio, Smith and co. are following the Tankathon playbook right now. However, the Texans can win one more game and still have the #1 draft pick locked down.

If there was a “one more game” to win. This is it. DraftKings Sportsbook has the Browns favored by 7-points, let’s prove them wrong.

Quick Hits: Cleveland Browns vs Houston Texans Preview

Texans lead all-time series, 7-5

STREAKS: Browns have won past 2

LAST GAME: 9/19/21: Texans 21 at Browns 31

LAST GAME AT SITE: 12/2/18: Texans 29, Browns 13

Cleveland Browns Stats

  • QB DESHAUN WATSON expected to make Cle. debut. Selected by Hou. in 2017 NFL Draft (No. 12 overall) & ranks 2nd in franchise history with 14,539 pass yards & 104 TD passes. Ranks 2nd in NFL history with 104.5 career passer rating (min. 1,500 atts.).
  • RB NICK CHUBB led team with 132 scrimmage yards (116 rush, 16 rec.) & had GW rush TD in OT last week. Has rush TD in 4 of past 5. Has 525 scrimmage yards (105 per game) in 5 road games this season. Rushed for 95 yards & TD in last meeting & has rush TD in each of 3 career games vs. Hou. Aims for his 5th in row vs. AFC South with 95+ scrimmage yards & rush TD. Ranks 2nd in NFL with 12 rush TDs & 3rd with 1,039 rush yards this season, his 4th-straight season with 1,000+ rush yards.
  • RB KAREEM HUNT has 301 scrimmage yards (100.3 per game) in 3 career games vs. Hou.
  • WR AMARI COOPER aims for 3rd in row with 7+ catches & 90+ rec. yards. Had TD
  • catch in only career game vs. Hou. (11/21/16 w/ Oak.).
  • WR DONOVAN PEOPLES-JONES has 60+ rec. yards in each of 5 road games in 2022.
  • TE DAVID NJOKU had 5 catches, incl. game-tying rec. TD with 32 seconds remaining,
  • last week. Has 5+ catches & 70+ rec. yards in 2 of his past 3 on road.
  • DE MYLES GARRETT aims for 3rd in row with sack & has sack in 5 of past 6. Has 0.5+ sacks in 3 of 4 career games vs. Hou. Ranks tied-5th in NFL with 10 sacks this
  • season & is 7th player since 1982 with 10+ sacks in 5 of 1st 6 seasons.
  • DE JADEVEON CLOWNEY had 0.5 sacks last week & aims for 3rd in row with TFL. Selected No. 1 overall by Hou. in 2014 NFL Draft & ranks 4th in franchise history with 29
  • sacks over 5 seasons with team (2014-18). Aims for his 3rd in row vs. Hou. with TFL.
  • CB MARTIN EMERSON had 4 PD last week, most by rookie in single game since 2020.

Houston Texans Stats

  • QB KYLE ALLEN made 1st start of season last week & completed 26 of 39 ats. (66.7 pct.) for 215 yards & TD vs. 2 INTs. Is 3-1 in career as starter vs. AFC.
  • QB DAVIS MILLS has 20 TDs (19 pass, 1 rush) vs. 8 INTs in 11 career home starts.
  • RB DAMEON PIERCE (rookie) has 50+ scrimmage yards in 3 of his past 4 at home. Leads all rookies with 788 rush yards & 931 scrimmage yards. Can become 3rd rookie in franchise history (Steve Slaton & Domanick Williams) with 1,000+
  • scrimmage yards.
  • RB DARE OGUNBOWALE rushed for 1st TD of season last week.
  • WR BRANDIN COOKS had 5 catches for 59 yards in Week 12. Aims for 5th in row
  • at home & 3rd in row overall with 55+ rec. yards. Had 9 catches for 78 yards & TD in last meeting. Aims for his 4th in row vs. Cle. with 6+ catches. Aims for his 3rd in row vs. AFC North with 75+ rec. yards & rec. TD. Is 1 of 4 in NFL (Mike Evans, DeAndre Hopkins & Travis Kelce) with 500+ rec. yards in each of past 9 seasons.
  • WR NICO COLLINS aims for 4th in row with 5+ catches.
  • TE JORDAN AKINS had season-high 5 catches for 61 yards & 2nd rec. TD of season
  • last week. Has 60+ rec. yards in 2 of past 3.
  • DL MALIEK COLLINS had career-high 3 TFL & 2 sacks in Week 12, his 3rd-career
  • multi-sack game. Has 0.5+ sacks in 2 of past 3. Had TFL in last meeting.
  • DL JERRY HUGHES has 4 TFL & 3 sacks in his past 3 at home.
  • DL MARIO ADDISON had 1st sack of season in Week 12.
  • LB CHRISTIAN KIRKSEY had 7 tackles, sack & PD last week. Aims for 5th in row with 7+ tackles & 3rd in row with TFL. Had 6 tackles, TFL & FR in last meeting.

Cleveland Browns at Houston Texans Prediction

With multiple key players on the injury report, it’s hard to think the Texans will excel here.

The gut check on this one is the Texans get utterly pants’ed by their now disgraced former quarterback. But, we’re calling in a flier on this one.

Cleveland Browns 24

Houston Texans 27

The Texans pull out a nail biter. The win gives the City of Houston some payback, restores the tiniest bit of faith in the franchise and provides fans with one last moment to hang our hats on in 2022.