Sunday, November 15, 2020, FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio, 1 p.m. ET
Texans at Browns Betting Preview: Texans (+3.5/-114), Browns (-3.5/-106)
The Texans (2-7) have labored through a disappointing season thanks in part to a schedule that has featured six teams with winning records in the first 10 games. Houston, mired by an 0-4 start and the subsequent dismissal of head coach Bill O’Brien, has two wins, but both against 1-7 Jacksonville.
Houston is 1-3 on the road this season, with the win (27-25) coming last Sunday against the Jaguars. The Texans have competed away from home, however, with one-possession losses at Tennessee and undefeated Pittsburgh.
Deshaun Watson remains the best thing about the Texans’ season as he has thrown for 2,376 yards and 17 touchdowns while completing 68.3 percent of his throws despite playing behind an offensive line that has allowed 24 sacks. He threw for 281 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for 50 yards, at Jacksonville.
The defense has served up points for the opposition all season, as opponents have scored at least 25 points in all but one game in 2020. The Texans have allowed at least 31 points five times.
The Browns (5-3) are in the playoff hunt, but play in the competitive AFC North where they’re chasing both Pittsburgh and Baltimore and can ill-afford a misstep. Cleveland, 3-1 at home, enters after a bye week but has dropped two of its last three games including a dismal 16-6 loss to visiting Las Vegas in Week 8 where it finished with a season-low 223 total yards.
The Browns have been hot-and-cold offensively, averaging 37.4 points per game in five wins but just 6.3 points in their three losses. Cleveland is a run-first offense, especially now after the season-ending knee injury to receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Third-year quarterback Baker Mayfield hasn’t thrown for a lot of yardage (1,514) but has improved his touchdown-to-interception ratio (15-7).
Defensively, the Browns have been ineffective against the pass where they rank 24th in the NFL in allowing 264.6 yards per game. But defensive end Myles Garrett is tied for the league lead with 9.0 sacks and four forced fumbles.
Texans at Browns Betting Pick for Week 10
The Browns are in the rare position of competing for a playoff spot at the midway point, and are expected to return difference-making running back Nick Chubb (knee), right guard Wyatt Teller (calf) and tight end Austin Hooper (abdomen) from injury this week. Watson is capable of tormenting a weak Cleveland secondary, but Houston will have to devise a plan to keep Garrett from making a big impact.
Given the Texans’ weakness in stopping the run (last in the NFL in allowing 159.5 rushing yards per game), and the Browns’ ability on the ground now augmented by returning personnel, it’s easy to see Cleveland dictating the flow and pace. Without a spate of turnovers to aid the cause, Houston will be hard-pressed to make up the difference.
Texans at Browns Betting Pick:
Browns 27, Texans 17
Texans at Browns Best Bet for Week 10
With rain in the forecast, the Browns’ preference for a ground-and-pound approach and a rested defense coming off a bye week, Cleveland should be poised to wear out a Houston squad making a second consecutive road trip.
Watson is talented enough to make it a shootout, but the Browns are in position to take that out of the equation.
Texans at Browns Best Bet: UNDER 49.5 total points (-114)