Browns vs Texans Game Preview: Sunday 1 PM 12/24/23

December 23, 2023

Andy Billman Tony Camino

Week 16 Game Breakdown and Picks


1 – Joe Cool

QB Joe Flacco has passed 89 times in the last two games while passing for 685 yards and 5 TDs.  Flacco has brought a jolt of energy to the scoreboard and his teammates.

2 – Injuries

The Browns did get some good news on the offensive line front, as C Ethan Pocic is playing on Sunday, and LT Geron Christian will also play. G Joel Botinio is questionable, an upgrade from Thursday when he could not practice.

The defense will be without S Juan Thornhill and MLB Anthony Walker, both out, and Walker could miss the rest of the regular season as he is week to week. There is no DE Ogbo Okoronkwo as he is still battling a pectoral injury and no timetable for his return.

3 – Stroud, Anderson out

The Texans also come into this game hurting as they will not have rookie and former Buckeye CJ Stroud,as it will be former Brown Case Keenum starting for Houston.  They will also be without the talented DE Will Anderson.

Overall:  This game feels like a game the Browns should win; it goes to an old line in the NFL.  If the Browns don’t turn the ball over, they should win it. 

Browns win! 16-10 give the three points.


Cleveland Browns Notes

Cleveland achieves a scoring average of 22.1 points per game, ranking 12th, and maintains an average of 330.0 total yards (17th), with 206.3 passing yards (21st) and 123.7 rushing yards (10th). Their third-down conversion rate stands at 31.0 percent (30th), while they find the end zone on 53.8 percent of their red zone trips, ranking 16th.

On the defensive side, the Browns allow an average of 20.6 points per game (12th), and their opponents accumulate an average of 261.1 total yards (1st). This includes 158.9 passing yards (1st) and 102.2 rushing yards (11th). With 41 sacks and 14 interceptions this season, Cleveland’s defense excels. Opponents struggle to convert on third downs, managing only a 28.3 percent success rate (1st), but they score touchdowns on 68.5 percent of their red zone visits, ranking 30th.


Houston Texans Notes

Houston posts an average of 21.9 points (ranking 15th) and accumulates 353.7 total yards (ranking 10th) per game. This includes 253.4 passing yards (ranking 5th) and 100.3 rushing yards (ranking 21st). The team successfully converts 38.8 percent of its third-down attempts (ranking 16th) and achieves touchdowns on 52.1 percent of its red zone trips (ranking 21st).

On the defensive side, the Texans allow an average of 21.1 points (ranking 15th) and concede 332.6 total yards (ranking 16th) per game. This comprises 239.1 passing yards (ranking 25th) and 93.5 rushing yards (ranking 6th). With 38 sacks and 12 interceptions, Houston’s defense demonstrates notable effectiveness. Opponents manage to convert 38.8 percent of their third-down attempts (ranking 18th), and they score 54.5 percent of their red zone visits (ranking 15th).


Tony Camino’s Best Bets for Browns vs. Texans – Week 16

Merry Christmas Eve! Hopefully, the Browns can give us a win this holiday season along with two more successful bets. Last week, we finally split for the first time in a while as Joe Flacco soared over his passing attempts, but Elijah Moore didn’t cover his receiving line, putting us at 14-2 over the last eight games. The Browns head to Houston for a road game against Case Keenum, aiming to protect the ball and get one game closer to a playoff berth. The banged-up offensive line will see the return of Ethan Pocic, and Joel Bitonio is questionable as they look to rebound from a tough game in Week 15. Here are the best bets for Browns versus Texans in Week 16.

Joe Flacco Over 36.5 Passing Attempts (-110)

Joe Flacco has easily covered this line in all three starts with the Browns, throwing at least 44 times in every game. With a battered offensive line, the lack of success in running the ball has led to a significant increase in screen passes and spacing concepts to stay ahead of schedule on second and third downs. The Browns throw the ball 59% of the time on average this season, but that number has skyrocketed to a 67% average, with the last game being 73% pass.

The Texans face an average number of passing attempts, as opposing teams are averaging 33.6 attempts per game against them. Trevor Lawrence and Kyler Murray each attempted at least 36 passes in the last four weeks against the Texans. On the season, Houston ranks 23rd in defensive passing DVOA and fifth in defensive rushing DVOA. The Browns’ offensive line faces a tough task upfront, likely meaning the Browns will throw on early downs to stay in manageable situations.

David Njoku Over 4.5 Receptions (-146)

David Njoku has covered this line in five of the last six games and has seen a massive increase in his role with Flacco. On the season, he’s averaging 7.6 targets per game, but that number has ballooned to 9.3 over the last three weeks, with increasing usage every week. In Week 15, he delivered his best performance of the season, catching 10 of 14 targets for 104 yards. He has covered this line in four of his last five games against bottom 10 passing defenses, averaging 5.6 per game.

The Texans rank second to last in receptions allowed to tight ends per game at 6.6. Seven of the last nine tight ends covered their line against the Texans, with seven having four or more receptions. Njoku is dangerous in space and should have the athletic edge over the Texans’ linebackers. With his presence in the screen game along with frequent usage of spacing concepts and short curls against the zone, Njoku will likely remain a significant part of the offense.

Recap

The Browns head into Week 16 looking to stay alive in both the AFC North race and the race for the top seed. While they cannot officially wrap up a playoff spot this week, a win today puts them in a great spot to clinch on Thursday Night Football. The biggest key to the game is protecting the football, as the Texans’ offense shouldn’t be able to have many successful drives if the Browns don’t gift them great field position. If the Browns can establish any sort of a run game and protect the ball, they should be heading back to Cleveland with 10 wins.

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