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Cleveland Browns @ Houston Texans tips and picks: Best bets for AFC Wild Card Round matchup

The AFC Wild Card Round kicks off on Saturday as the Houston Texans (10-7) welcome the Cleveland Browns (11-6) to NRG Stadium.

The Houston Texans will feature in the NFL Playoffs for the first time since 2019 when they host the Cleveland Browns at NRG Stadium on Saturday as the road to Super Bowl LVIII begins (2130 GMT).

This matchup pits the number four seed Texans (10-7) against the number five seed Browns (11-6). At first glance, this isn’t the most attractive game, but let’s dig a little deeper.

These teams posted similar records during the regular season and neither is an elite team, so it’s interesting to note the Browns won the regular season meeting 36-22.

CJ Stroud, the 22-year-old quarterback who has thrown for 23 touchdowns, missed that game due to concussion protocol.

However, it was no surprise to see Cleveland limit their opponents. After all, the Browns boast the NFL’s best defence, allowing just 270.2 yards per game.


On the opposite of the ball, Joe Flacco had a storybook ending to the season as the veteran quarterback carried Cleveland to a 4-1 finish to make the playoffs.

He threw 11 touchdowns and averaged 340 passing yards per game in his final four so to see him up against the Rookie of the Year candidate is quite exciting.

In our opinion, it’s hard to bet against Flacco’s form. On the other hand, the pressure will be on Stroud’s shoulders as Houston looks short of a good running back option.

The Brown’s defence has some truly elite performers in it and if this game comes down to one final stop, we give Cleveland the advantage on both sides of the ball.

But that’s not to say they’ll completely shut Houston down. We saw the Texans score 22 points against them already this season, and Cleveland is scoring more with Flacco at the helm.

Suggested bets

Cleveland Browns -1.5

Over 42.5 points

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