The Texans suffered a high-scoring loss to the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs in Week 5, 42-34. Chiefs QB Alex Smith torched the Texans defense for 324 yards and three TDs, continuing his MVP level of play. Texans rookie sensation, QB Deshaun Watson, had another impressive outing, but the bigger story after the game was the season ending leg injury to DT JJ Watt. The Texans will look to bounce back against the Browns in Week 6.
The Cleveland Browns couldn’t find enough offense, as they were defeated by the New York Jets in Week 5, 17-14. Jets QB Josh McCown threw for two TDs against his former team, and the Jets defense held the Browns to 14 points, leading them to their 3rd win of the season. QB DeShone Kizer was benched and replaced by QB Kevin Hogan, who is expected to start in Week 6. They will travel to Houston to face the Texans.
A loss to an opponent is bad enough, but when you lose two defensive stars in the same game, it makes it difficult to digest. Texans OLB Whitney Mercilus (chest) and DE JJ Watt (leg) were both lost for the year with season-ending injuries, depleting a pass rush that was one of the league’s best. The Texans will look for DT Christian Covington and OLB Jadeveon Clowney to step up in the place of their injured veterans.
Is it possible? To go 0-16? Well, as difficult as it might seem, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of the Cleveland Browns going winless. The odds would tell you they should win at least one or two games, but this team is a mess. Their schedule doesn’t get any easier—with teams such as Houston, Jacksonville, Detroit, and Green Bay on the horizon—so they will have their work cut out for them. The QB position is the biggest area of concern, especially after the benching of rookie QB DeShone Kizer. The offense struggles to put up points and the defense can’t seem to string together any consistency, therefore, 0-16 is becoming more realistic by the week.
It’s well-known, especially after QB Deshaun Watson’s play over the last few weeks, that the Brown’s made a mistake by passing on him in the 2017 Draft. I understand that every situation is different, and that if Watson was in Cleveland he wouldn’t be putting up the same level of production, but come on… you passed on him and waited for DeShone Kizer? This organization continues to make big mistakes in their drafts, and I would fully expect Watson to show Cleveland what they could have had as he will put up monster numbers in this game.
OLB Jadeveon Clowney, HOU vs LT Joe Thomas, CLE
With the significant injuries to the Texans pass rush, the spotlight will shift solely to OLB Jadeveon Clowney. Clowney leads the Texans with three sacks on the season, but will now get even more attention with both Watt and Mercilus sidelined for the remainder of the year. He has a tough matchup this week against one of the best LTs to ever play the game, Joe Thomas. Thomas continues to be a force in this league, allowing no sacks through his first five games, and will look to stifle the pass rush of Clowney on Sunday.
Fantasy Football Tip: WR Will Fuller V, HOU
Overshadowed, mostly by QB Deshaun Watson’s play, is the return of Houston WR Will Fuller V. Fuller has done nothing but find the endzone in his first two games back, accounting for four TDs and 15.3 yards per reception. The Cleveland Browns secondary gives up roughly 8.0 yards per reception on the season, so look for Fuller to sneak behind them a few times, finding the endzone again.
Betting Tip: HOU (-10)
Cleveland is a mess, and they have no chance to win this game, but even they can cover double-digits, right? The Texans have lost a lot of production on their defense this season, due to injury, and with the QB change in Cleveland, it might be enough to allow them to cover. However, the Texans are 10-5-1 against the spread after a loss since 2015, and QB Deshaun Watson has that offense playing at a high level, so even the -10 won’t be enough for Cleveland. Take Houston in this one.
Prediction: Houston Texans 32 – Cleveland Browns 17
The Texans need a win to continue to position themselves in the jumbled AFC South, and playing the Browns always seems to be what the doctor ordered. Both the offense and the defense of Cleveland rank outside the top 20 in scoring, and having to stop/match QB Deshaun Watson and the Texans offense will pose a major challenge for this Browns team. Houston will put up 30+ in this game, allowing them to cruise to victory.
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