The Cleveland Browns are in Houston for Week 13, as they hope to upset the surging Houston Texans. The Texans are an 8-3 football team heading into this week following a convincing win over the Titans on Monday Night Football. Houston’s defense came to play with plenty of tenacity just like has been the case for the majority of the season. They are a sleeper in the AFC that haven’t garnered as much attention as the usual suspects like the Steelers and Patriots.
The new kids on the block, the Kansas City Chiefs have gotten plenty of fanfare with Patrick Mahomes exploding in an MVP campaign. Kareem Hunt is gone after a video surfaced of him pushing and kicking a woman in an Ohio hotel from February. However, there is still a bevy of talent on the KC offense that they likely won’t miss a beat.
An injury to Mahomes or Tyreek Hill would muddy the waters in Kansas City, though. No one seems to be talking about the Texans and their defense, which accounts for a lot in the playoffs. There is also Deshaun Watson who is directing a capable offense. They got even better by acquiring Demaryius Thomas. His career isn’t dead. He was just playing with a quarterback in Denver who couldn’t take advantage of his skills. Has he slowed down? Most certainly, but a QB like Watson is going to give him a better career than Case Keenum.
The Browns are coming off a big win as well. They went on the road to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals with Hue Jackson on the sideline. Nope, it wasn’t on the Browns’ sideline. He was on the other side just weeks after getting fired by the Browns. Baker Mayfield was offended by him taking on an assistant role with the Bengals and that’s been the talk of the sports media circuit all week. Baker better be focusing on the Texans’ defense and forget about Hue Jackson. Houston poses a stiff test for the rookie. Get our free Browns vs. Texans pick below.
Cleveland Browns vs. Houston Texans NFL Week 13 Betting Odds:
Browns +6 (-117)
vs. Texans -6(-103)
Betting odds provided by Sportsbetting.ag
Browns vs. Texans Pick:
Baker Mayfield has excelled since Hue Jackson got fired. His numbers went up immediately, as he settles in and shakes off the rookie jitters from earlier in the season. Mayfield is playing looser on the field and looking like he did in college. He threw 4 touchdowns and 6 interceptions with Jackson as the bench boss.
Since his firing, along with offensive coordinator Todd Haley, Mayfield has thrown 9 touchdowns and 1 interception. Those aren’t numbers that can be ignored. I would argue the defenses he’s played has something to do with that as well. Their last three games have been against the Chiefs, Falcons, and Bengals. Take note of where they rank defensively. 32nd, 30th, and 28th is where those three defenses rank.
Credit should be given to Mayfield for his recent surge. At the same time, everything should be kept in perspective considering the defenses he has been able to feast on. The Bengals’ defense is horrible, so let’s see him do it against a dangerous Houston defense. The Texans are 8th in the NFL with 333.6 yards allowed per game. Houston is going to bring a pass rush at Baker that he hasn’t seen in weeks.
Watson has been proficient under center for the Texans as well. He’s coming off a 2 touchdown performance against a solid Tennessee defense to bring his total numbers to 20 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. In the last five weeks, he’s hit his targets for 11 touchdowns with only 2 interceptions.
Watson has been feeling it and the arrival of Thomas as a receiver has only helped. Lost in the play of Baker has been how bad the Browns’ defense has been. They are 31st with 415.4 yards allowed per game. This is the second consecutive road game for Cleveland, while Houston will be home for their second in a row. Oddsmakers have this spread a bit too low. Look for the Texans to emerge with a 30-20 or 33-23 win on Sunday.