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Browns vs. Texans Playoffs: Scouting How Different Houston is with C.J. Stroud in our Q&A with Battle Red Blog

We ask about Texans QB C.J. Stroud, if Houston can play a lot better than a couple weeks ago, and more.

Houston Texans v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

This Saturday, the Cleveland Browns take on the Houston Texans. To help preview a few topics from the Bengals’ perspective, we reached out to Scott Barzilla from Battle Red Blog and exchanged five questions with him.

According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Browns are 2.5-point favorites against the Texans.

Houston Texans v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Chris: “These teams just played each other in Houston, but the biggest difference this time is that C.J. Stroud is back under center for Houston. Tell us about Stroud’s strengths and weaknesses in his first season.”

Scott: “For Browns fans watching the first matchup, the biggest difference will be Stroud’s accuracy and on the deep ball in particular. Case Keenum is smart but just can’t make all the throws. Mills can make the throws physically but never had the elite accuracy Stroud has.”

Chris: “The Browns had a 36-7 lead against the Texans during the fourth quarter, and that one touchdown by Houston was from a kickoff return. Are fans feeling nervous because of how that game went, or does Stroud being back almost make this a whole new ballgame?”

Scott: “Of course we are nervous. The Browns have the best defense in the NFL I think this is a much closer game with both Stroud and Will Anderson healthy. There are some other key guys we need back, but I don’t think anyone can play any playoff game without being nervous about what the other team can do.”

Cleveland Browns v Houston Texans Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Chris: “Amari Cooper shredded the Texans for a franchise-record 265 yards receiving. Was that a bit of an anomaly, or do you expect the Texans’ pass defense to be able to do somewhat of a better job containing him this time around (assuming he’s able to play)?”

Scott: “I remember telling you that Derek Stingley would shut him down and he didn’t get that assignment. I know Ryan’s likes to keep guys on their same side but I’m hoping he doesn’t repeat that mistake. Cooper is absolutely the Browns top threat so you should put your best on him. I see Nelson still getting that assignment and just have to hope it doesn’t go that badly again.”

Chris: “Besides Stroud, are there any other ‘new’ injuries for Houston, or players returning from injury, since the last game these teams played against each other?”

Scott: “Will Anderson will be back for this one and leads all rookie rushers with 44 pressures. If Johnathan Greenard is healthy it could be a bit different from a pressure department. On offense. Robert Woods and Noah Brown missed last week and at least one needs to be back to give Stroud a second reliable target outside.”

Chris: “The Browns are favorites against the Texans on Saturday (Browns -2.5 as of this question, per DraftKings Sportsbook). Who would you pick against the spread?”

Scott: “Honestly I think the Browns are winning this game and have the best chance to knock off the Ravens in the conference. I think it’s fairly low scoring so I’ll go 24-20 Browns. I love my Texans and they are playing with house money but good football teams have exposed them as you would expect.”

Thanks again to Scott for taking the time to answer my questions.