The Houston Texans host the winless Cleveland Browns in week 6. Normally this would be a matchup where the Texans would walk away victoriously very easily but this year is different. It is not that the Browns are a good team, because they are not. It is the fact that the Texans might be missing too many key players to come away with a win.
The Texans lost J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus for the season due to injury in Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs. This is in addition to the suspension of Brian Cushing, who still has five games remaining on his suspension. Meanwhile the Browns saw the debut of first overall pick Myles Garrett and he did not disappoint. Garrett had two sacks on a limited number of plays and displayed his natural ability and bright future.
The Browns are predictably not a good offensive unit. Cleveland is 16th in passing yards per game (231.4), 25th in rushing yards per game (89.2) and second to last in points per game (15.4). This is due to starting a rookie quarterback in DeShone Kizer who has limited weapons. Kenny Britt has been a disappointment and Corey Coleman has a broken hand. Contributing is the confusing play calling of head coach Hue Jackson who seems to call the wrong plays at the wrong time, every time.
Defensively the Browns rank 19th in passing yards allowed per game (228.2), fifth in rushing yards allowed per game (76.6) and have allowed the seventh-most points per game (24.8). The Cleveland defense ranks 15th in sacks (12), 19th in interceptions (3) and sixth in fumble recoveries (3).
After a few rough weeks, the Texans are starting to put things together offensively. Houston ranks 21st in passing yards per game (204), fourth in rushing yards per game (140.6) and fourth in points per game (28.8). Deshaun Watson has chemistry with wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller and it has been on display the past two games. Over the past two weeks Watson has combined for eight touchdown passes to Hopkins and Fuller.
Defensively the Texans allow the 13th-most passing yards per game (221.4), 14th-most rushing yards per game (101.8) and fifth-most points per game (26). The Houston defense rank 19th in sacks (11), 10th in interceptions (4) and sixth in fumble recoveries (3).
The Texans defense has issues and that was with J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus. The Cleveland offense is not good, but with the absence of key players such as Watt and Mercilus, the Houston defense will have issues getting stops on a regular basis.
The offense should be able to take care of business against the Browns defense. Ryan Griffin should have a great day as the Browns defense is susceptible to getting beat by tight ends. Tyler Kroft and Austin Seferian-Jenkins both had good games against the Browns and Griffin should be expected to also.
This game will not be the cakewalk that some presume it will be. The Texans offense mostly relies on big plays and the Browns defense takes those away. Houston’s injuries and sub-par offensive line will play a factor as Cleveland has the advantage in both departments. The Texans are expected to win, but it will not be a surprise is the Browns come away with their first win of the season come Sunday.