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Browns vs. Texans: Wild Card Need to Know

Cleveland opens up the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs with a trip to Houston. Here is everything you need to know about the game.

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

The Cleveland Browns will open their quest for the Super Bowl on Saturday when they face the Houston Texans in the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs.

This is a rematch of the Week 16 game that saw the Browns steamroll the Texans but with one major difference. Last time, the Texans had to play Case Keenum and Davis Mills at quarterback with starter C.J. Stroud in the concussion protocol. On Saturday, Stroud will be back under center and that could present some problems for the Browns.

Of course, Stroud hasn’t faced a defense like the one the Browns will put on the field, and if anyone has an edge it would be a veteran defense against a rookie quarterback.

Speaking of quarterbacks, this will be the sixth time in his career that Cleveland quarterback Joe Flacco has started a Wild Card game and he has yet to end the day on the losing side, so the Browns have that going for them as well.

It’s Browns vs. Texans in the first of six Wild Card games over the next three days, and here is everything you need to know about the matchup.

Game Info

Records: Cleveland is 11-6. Houston is 10-7.

Kickoff: 4:30 p.m.

Stadium: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas

TV: NBC

Announcers: Noah Eagle, Todd Blackedge and Kathryn Tappen (sideline reporter)

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

Announcers: Jim Donovan, 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, 36-22, in Week 16.

All-time series: The all-time series is tied 7-7. The Browns have three road games against the Texans in eight previous attempts.

Playoff history: This is the first meeting between the two teams in the playoffs. The Browns are 17-21 all-time in the playoffs. The Texans are 4-6 all-time in the playoffs.

Weather: NRG Stadium has a retractable roof, but with a forecast calling for 64 degrees with no chance of rain and winds from the south at 15 mph, it will be interesting to see if they leave the roof open or closed. (weather.com)

Uniform: The Browns are rolling into the playoffs sporting their white jersey and orange pants.

Injury report: Browns - Out: Kicker Dustin Hopkins (hamstring), wide receiver Cedric Tillman (concussion) and safety Grant Delpit (groin). Questionable: Cornerback Mike Ford Jr., running back Pierre Strong Jr. (back), safety Juan Thornhill (calf) and cornerback Denzel Ward (shoulder/knee). Texans - Out: Defensive end Jerry Hughes (ankle). Questionable: Defensive end Will Anderson Jr. (ankle), fullback Andrew Beck (calf), wide receiver Noah Brown (back), defensive tackle Maliek Collins (hip), defensive end Jonathan Greenard (ankle), defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins (shoulder) and wide receiver Robert Woods (hip).

The line: Browns -2 (DraftKings)

Some Notes to Remember

  • This is the first playoff game since 1970 that pits the team with the most turnovers, the Browns, against the team with the fewest turnovers, the Texans, according to ESPN.
  • Houston quarterback C.J. Stroud has feasted against zone coverage as he has the league’s best quarterback rating against zone but is just ranked No. 27 when throwing against man coverage. Cleveland’s defense will counter with the best man coverage in the NFL, according to ESPN.
  • Cleveland led the NFL in total defense, pass defense, fewest first downs allowed, third-down efficiency and fourth-down efficiency, according to The News-Herald.
  • This week’s game poster leans into a graffiti theme:
  • In the first 10 weeks of the season, the Browns defense allowed 1.4 points per possession on drives ending in anything other than a turnover, the No. 1 mark in the NFL. Over the final seven weeks, that number bumped up to 1.9 points per possession, ranking in the middle of the pack at No. 14, according to ESPN.

In Case You Missed It

Browns vs. Texans Playoff Preview and Prediction - Can Cleveland repeat a blowout?

NFL Picks Wild Card Playoffs, and media picks for Browns vs. Texans

Browns officially announce backup QB plan

Scouting How Different Houston is with C.J. Stroud in our Q&A with Battle Red Blog

C.J. Stroud presents a challenge to Browns defense

Browns, Texans Playoff Primer: Who are the star players on Houston’s defense?

The “Hope” Browns playoff hype video

Texans are a popular name for pro football teams

Browns history: Interview with Superfan John Big Dawg Thompson

Then and Now: 2023 Browns playoff team has edge over 2020 squad

Browns vs Texans: 3 Cleveland players who will need to step up in the NFL playoffs

3 ways that the Browns can shut down CJ Stroud, Houston’s offense

Will this ‘fatal flaw’ derail the Browns playoff dreams?

A Final Quote

Quarterback Joe Flacco on how to prepare for the playoffs (quote via a team-provided transcript):

“You just go prepare. I mean, I’ve said it to some of the guys, there’s not this daunting task of getting ready to prepare for 20 games. You’re preparing for one game and that’s it. You’re promised one game here. So I think that’s something good to fall back on. I think you can get comfort in that one game. Prepare as hard as you can for one week and then when that’s all done, we’ll pick up and see where we’re at. As far as playing these guys a couple of weeks ago, I’m sure there are things that we’ll take from the time that we played them, but each game is its own unique challenge and these guys are a good football team. We’re excited for the opportunity to go play a tough game.”


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