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Browns vs. Texans: Week 16 Need to Know

Cleveland heads to Texas with their eyes on a playoff berth for a game against the Texans. Here is everything you need to know.

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Chicago Bears v Cleveland Browns Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns are on the road this Sunday with visions of the playoffs dancing in their heads as they take on the Houston Texans.

The Browns (9-5) can clinch a playoff spot with a win and a lot of help, while the Texans (8-6) are in their own playoff fight with the Jacksonville Jaguars (8-6) and Indianapolis Colts (8-6) in the AFC South.

Sunday’s game will be a matchup of aging quarterbacks as Joe Flacco looks to lead the Browns to a third-consecutive victory, while the Texans are once again turning to old friend Case Keenum as C.J. Stroud remains in concussion protocol.

It’s Browns vs. Texans on Christmas Eve and here is everything you need to know about the game.

Game Info

Records: Cleveland is 9-5. Houston is 8-6.

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

Stadium: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas

TV: CBS

Announcers: Ian Eagle, Charles Davis and Evan Washburn (sideline reporter)

Radio: ESPN 850, 92.3 The Fan, 98.5 WNCX, 89.1 FM La Mega (Spanish)

Announcers: Andrew Siciliano, Nathan Zegura, Jerod Cherry (sideline reporter)

First meeting: The Browns won the first meeting, 34-17, on October 20, 2002

Last meeting: The Browns won the most recent meeting, 27-14, in Week 13 of the 2022 season.

All-time series: The Texans lead the all-time series 7-6. The Browns have only won twice in seven road games against the Texans.

Weather: NRG Stadium has a retractable roof, and with the weather forecast calling for a 65 percent chance of thunderstorms, the roof will likely remain closed. (weather.com)

Uniform: The Browns will be rocking their white jersey with the orange pants.

Injury report: Browns - Out: Linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. (knee), defensive end Ogbo Okoronkwo (pectoral), safety Juan Thornhill (calf) and linebacker Jordan Kunaszky (calf). Questionable: Left guard Joel Bitonio (back). Texans - Out: Defensive end Will Anderson Jr. (ankle), linebacker Blake Cashman (hamstring) and quarterback C.J. Stroud (concussion). Questionable: Defensive tackle Maliek Collins (hip), wide receiver Nico Collins (calf) and linebacker Denzel Perryman (achilles).

The line: Browns -3 (DraftKings)

Some Notes to Remember

  • Cleveland quarterback Joe Flacco has led 26 game-winning drives in his career, which fits in nicely as the Browns are a perfect 5-0 in games this season decided by three or fewer points, according to The Washington Post.
  • Houston comes into the game ranked No. 2 in the league in passing yards (3,890) and third in average yards per attempt (8), while the Browns counter with a defense that is No. 1 in fewest passing yards allowed (2,501) to go along with 14 interceptions and 41 sacks, according to clevelandbrowns.com.
  • The Texans present another rough challenge for Cleveland’s rushing attack as Houston is at No. 2 in the league allowing just 3.4 yards per carry and No. 6 in total rushing yards allowed with 1,309. The Browns struggled to get the run game going last week as they had just 29 rushing yards, according to clevelandbrowns.com.
  • Both teams come into the game with top play from its cornerbacks as Cleveland’s Denzel Ward, Martin Emerson Jr. and Greg Newsome II have combined to allow a passer rating of 66 when targeted, while Houston’s Steven Nelson and Derek Stingley Jr. are in a “similar tier,” according to ESPN.
  • Cleveland punter Corey Bojorquez has dropped 29 punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line this season, which is fifth-best in the league, according to clevelandbrowns.com.
  • Staying with the special teams, placekicker Dustin Hopkins is just six points away from breaking the franchise’s single-season scoring record of 126, which running back Jim Brown set in 1965, according to The Athletic.
  • Wide receiver Amari Cooper needs just 15 more receiving yards to become the first Browns player to have consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons.
  • This week’s game poster embraces the holiday spirit with a Die Hard theme:
  • Cleveland’s defense continues to be stellar in several categories as it is allowing 261.1 yards per game, the lowest by any team since 2009 and the best for the Browns since the 1950s; just 194 first downs, tops in the league; and is forcing three-and-outs a league-high 67.2 percent of the time, far ahead of No. 2 New Orleans at 42.9 percent, according to The Athletic.
  • The Browns will be without starting safeties Grant Delpit and Juan Thornhill again this weekend due to injuries. Rookie Ronnie Hickman will look to fill in once again and he is coming off a game against the Chicago Bears where he was the highest-graded rookie for the week by Pro Football Focus:
  • The last time Joe Flacco and Case Keenum opposed each other as starting quarterbacks was in 2014 when Keenum led the Texans past the Baltimore Ravens. Sunday will mark the first time that Flacco has started in NRG Stadium since that day and the first time Keenum has been the starter since December 28, 2014, according to houstontexans.com.
  • This is the third consecutive season that the Browns and Texans have played each other and there has been a different starting quarterback combination in each game. In 2021 it was Tyrod Taylor against Baker Mayfield, in 2022 it was Kyle Allen vs. Deshaun Watson and this year it will be Flacco vs. Keenum.

In Case You Missed It

This Joe Flacco pass could be a sign of an unlocked Browns defense

Browns Schedule Week 16: Scouting the Houston Texans

Browns vs Texans: 3 key things to watch in Week 16

NFL Picks Week 16, and media picks for Browns vs. Texans

Browns playoffs: Clinching possible in Week 16, seeding matters after that

Browns offense: One thing they can do to improve their struggling run game

Browns offensive line woes: Analysis, thoughts, suggestions … answers?

Browns Week 16 rooting guide: Best results for playoff seeding

A Final Quote

Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz on what it takes to win on the road (quote via a team-provided transcript):

“I think that you start off your game plan every week with the players and the schemes and those things. And as the week goes on, after you get past that point, it needs to go into more of an us against the world kind of mentality. You’re going into a hostile environment and embracing that. And that’s another step that we need to take as a team and as a defense - winning on the road. It’s hard when you get December and you get to January, and games mean a lot. Winning on the road means an awful lot. And we haven’t always played our best on the road and we’ve learned some lessons and hopefully that will pay off for us now as we mature and we sort of learn how to deal with it and what’s at stake.”


What are you looking for from the Browns in Sunday’s game against the Texans?