Houston Texans (4-5 SU, 5-4 ATS) vs. Cleveland Browns (6-3 SU, 5-2-2 ATS)
NFL Week 11
Date and Time: Sunday, November 16, 1:00pm EST
Where: FirstEnergy Stadium - Cleveland, OH
by Bob, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: HOU +3.5/CLE -3.5
Over/Under Total: 41.5
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This Sunday, we have an AFC contest between two teams that are desperately trying to make a run to the AFC playoffs this season. The Houston Texans will travel to Cleveland to take on the Browns. Houston comes in at 4-5 overall, while the Cleveland Browns sit at 6-3. Before this season started, not may people would think that Cleveland would be in first place in the AFC North over halfway through the season, but that is exactly what has happened so far. Believe it or not, Cleveland has a more of a margin of error than the Texans do, but do not tell them that. At 6-3 at home, playing a team below .500, Cleveland does not want to blow this, they plan on being 7-3 headed into week 12 of the NFL season.
The line opens up with the Browns favored by 3.5 at home over the Houston Texans. Before the 2014 season, many thought the Browns were on the verge of a quarterback controversy and a losing season…wow..not even close. The total points for this game are set at 41.5. So far in 2014, the Houston Texans are 5-4 against the spread, while the Browns are 5-2-2. This spread is pretty standard for NFL games, but lets make sure we are on the right side of this one.
The Houston Texans had an awful 2013 season, finishing just 2-14 and getting the first pick in the NFL draft. Well, that first pick was Jadaveon Clowney, but the problem is he hasn’t even played full game yet. He played about three quarters in week one, and has yet to return yet. So far this season, the Texans have been as mediocre as it can get. Now, that may sound bad, but it is an improvement since last season. Just like last season, the Texans jumped out to a 2-0 start, but since that time, they have gone 2-5. Statistically, it is pretty obvious what the problem is with this team. Through nine games, the Texans are ranked 28th in the NFL in passing offense and 29th in passing defense. Now, the passing team is not great, but the run game is pretty solid. Led by Arian Foster, Houston is sitting at 4th in the league in rushing yards. Foster has already gained 822 yards and scored 7 TDs on the 2014 season. We already stated that the pass defense had some issues, but not only that, the run defense does too. The Texans are giving up over 115 yards a game so far. If Houston has any shot of going on the road and winning in Cleveland, the defense must pick it up. If the defense lets Cleveland dictate the game, it could be a long long Sunday for the Texans and they could easily see themsevles with a 4-6 record.
The Cleveland Browns have been one of the biggest surprises of the 2014 season. At 6-3, they are not only in the driver seat to make a playoff run, they could possibly win the AFC North and host a playoff game at home. Before this season started, many fans wanted Johnny Manziel to take over the reigns as the Browns starting QB, well, that has changed. Brian Hoyer has been a great leader and has been a big part of the Browns success so far this season. Hoyer has already thrown for over 2,200 yards this season and 10 touchdowns. Not only has Hoyer done a solid job in the passing game, the Browns are also ranked 11th in the NFL in rushing offense, and the pass defense is ranked 12th in the league. This team does not jump out at you on paper, but they are just good enough to get the job done and win games. The key to winning at home over the Texans is to play smart and disciplined. No costly penalties and no turnovers. If Cleveland can play a clean game, I like them to escape and go 7-3 on the 2014 season.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: So far on this game, 68% of the action is on the Browns. As much as I like the Browns and think they win this game, the 3.5 points are tough. I will fade the public opinion in this one. Yes, I think Cleveland wins the game, but I have a feeling they do not cover the 3.5. The Browns will win this game 23-21 on a late field goal. PICK THE HOUSTON TEXANS +3.5