Browns vs Texans Playoff Preview: Saturday 4:30 PM 1/13/24

January 12, 2024

Andy Billman Tony Camino

Wildcard Game Breakdown

1 – Fabulous Flacco 

QB Joe Flacco leads the Browns with an overall 10-5 record in the playoffs in his career, including seven playoff road wins, tying him with Tom Brady for the most in league history.  Flacco comes in with four straight 300-plus yard games and 13 touchdowns in 5 games.  He also has eight interceptions as well.

The last time Cleveland played in Houston, he connected eleven times with Amari Cooper for 265 yards and two touchdowns.  

David Njoku is also having a big season with Flacco and, in his last game against the Jets, went for six receptions for 134 yards.  

If the Browns can keep Flacco upright on Saturday, it should be a big passing day for Cleveland, and it is the key to success for the Browns. 

2 – Defense

The Browns’ defense has not been as effective on the road as at home.  Two areas of significant difference are in touchdowns, with 25 given up to only 13 at home and 32 sacks at home to only 17 on the road.  

Step one is Myles Garrett, and Za’Darius Smith must pressure CJ Stroud.  The good news is that the Texans’ running game is average, and Stroud is not an RPO quarterback, so Garrett and Smith should be able to tee off on Stroud.  

Step two is the cornerbacks can not give up big plays to the Texans receivers.  Finally, limiting the Texans to yards after the catch.

3 – Turnovers

Cleveland has turned over the ball all year, but hopefully, on Saturday, they can limit that number to zero.  The Texans are the opposite, as they have a good turnover margin and have turned the ball over the least in the NFL. 


If the Browns can limit turnovers and if the magic carpet ride can continue with Flacco, Cleveland should be in good shape, even if Stroud goes off in this game.  Turnovers on the road in the playoffs are my one big worry, but the Browns should win this game.

Browns win!  27-17, give the 2 points.

Cleveland Browns Notes

Having clinched victory in four of their last five games, the Cleveland Browns carry high expectations into Wild Card weekend, with their only recent loss attributed to resting starters. Buoyed by quarterback Joe Flacco’s impressive performance, the Dawg Pound faithful now have renewed confidence in a team that defied skeptics after Deshaun Watson’s injury. While a Super Bowl appearance might be a stretch, the Browns, driven by Flacco and a robust defense, pose a formidable challenge with their potent pass rush, aerial prowess, and stellar pass-defense stats. Despite facing an injury-laden roster, including doubts surrounding key players like kicker Dustin Hopkins, receiver Amari Cooper, and defensive end Myles Garrett, the Browns seem poised for a competitive showdown this weekend.

Houston Texans Notes

Houston is poised for an exciting future with rookie sensation QB C.J. Stroud leading the charge. Concluding the regular season with a formidable 7-3 streak, the team clinched a playoff berth thrillingly by defeating division rival Indianapolis last week. While the Texans have the potential to advance beyond the first round, the question remains: will their dance in the postseason continue?

In a compelling 23-19 victory over Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium last Saturday, Stroud showcased his prowess with an impressive 20-of-26 passing performance, accumulating 264 yards and two touchdowns. Despite limited support from the Texans’ running backs, who managed only 60 yards on 28 carries, Stroud efficiently capitalized on his red zone opportunities, going 2-for-2. Although Indianapolis outgained Houston by 54 yards and stayed close on the scoreboard, their struggles on third down (1-for-11) and a strong rushing performance (6.1 yards per carry) weren’t enough to secure the win.

Heading into Saturday’s Wild Card showdown, the Texans appear well-rested and in good health, although the availability of several defensive players remains uncertain, designated as questionable to play. Stay tuned for updates on their gameday status by monitoring the injury report.

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