According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Cleveland Browns are 2.5 point favorites against the Houston Texans on Saturday. Here is what the national media is saying about the Wild Card Weekend game between the Browns and Texans:
CBS Sports (Pete Prisco) - Browns 31, Texans 24
This is the veteran quarterback Joe Flacco against the rookie sensation in C.J. Stroud. Flacco gets the edge because he has the better defense. The Browns will be able to pressure Stroud to limit him some. I think Flacco, who has been good in the playoffs in his career, will be good in this one. The Browns will win it.
CBS Sports (John Breech) - Browns 23, Texans 20
...Over the course of NFL history, rookie quarterbacks have completed just 55% of their passes in the playoffs while averaging just 189 passing yards per game. They’ve also thrown way more interceptions (42) than touchdowns (33). Also, no quarterback ever taken in the top two of the draft has ever won his first playoff start (The last two to try were Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, and they both lost by double digits.)
Stroud certainly has the talent to lead the Texans to an upset, but there’s no way I can pick against “January Joe” Flacco, who is tied with TOM BRADY for the most road playoff wins in NFL history.
Sporting News (Vinnie Iyer) - Browns 20, Texans 17
The Browns will not blow out the Texans for the second time in four weeks after winning 36-22 in Houston in Week 16. Houston’s offense had limited life without standout rookie C.J. Stroud and Joe Flacco and Amari Cooper won’t duplicate that dominant connection. This game will be more dictated by the defenses, more so Myles Garrett and the rested, loaded Browns vs. Will Anderson Jr. and the more inexperienced Texans. Stroud takes some lumps vs. pressure while Flacco grinds it out with more some good help from the rushing attack.
Sporting News (Bill Bender) - Browns 27, Texans 20
Cleveland won in Houston 36-22 in Week 16. Joe Flacco passed for 368 yards and three TDs, and the Texans were not able to generate a pass rush. However, C.J. Stroud missed that game, and the rookie is a game-changer for Houston. He had 23 TDs and five interceptions this season, but the Browns’ pass rush will be a huge test. The Texans are 1-4 S/U when Stroud takes four sacks or more. Myles Garrett, a Texas native, will make the most of his playoff game. Cleveland pulls off the victory as a road favorite.
Below are our Wild Card Weekend NFL staff picks: