Houston Texans (5-5) +3, 51 O/U at Cleveland Browns (6-4) -3, Browns Stadium, Cleveland, 1pm EST Sunday
by The Crazy Snake of Predictem.com
This could be a fun game to watch. Two improving teams, each with scoring ability, and at least one lowly (read: God-awful) ranked pass defense. I’m willing to bet at the opening of the season not too many people looked into the schedule and thought “Oh, wow! Better find a way to watch the Texans at the Browns!!!” But now, with AFC wild card implications on the line at the very least, this one looms as not only intriguing, but entertaining and “big play” spectacular.
I have to admit, when the bookmaker opened the Browns as 3.5 point favorites I think I probably licked my lips in anticipation of getting a better price about Houston. That has since fallen to 3 with many and I think that is probably more realistic. Actually, I am not really looking at the spread on this one. I saw +160 about the Texan’s money line at one bookie this morning and I am planning on getting me some of that. I backed the Texans last week too, though I didn’t preview the game, and see them as being a lot better than their record would indicate.
A Texans offensive outfit sporting Andre’s Johnson and Davis is a handful for any secondary, especially when being fed by a healthy Matt Schaub. This is a solid team, make no mistake. They have a tough run home, but they will trouble all of those teams in some way from here on out. Defensively, however, they will have their hands full with Anderson feeding Braylon Edwards and tight end, Kellen Winslow. Both combinations have been prolific this season and have seen the Anderson led offense averaging a tick over 31 points. In addition, the Browns have the very capable Jamal Lewis to run at this 21st ranked rush defense. I can’t really see the Texans containing the Browns too much, but at the same time they also will find the Brown’s secondary easy pickings. This could and should be a wild one.
On balance, I like the Texans here. Cleveland couldn’t stop Baltimore in the second half last week and that doesn’t bode well since Baltimore has been ineffective offensively against basically everyone else. On the other hand, they did put up 30 regular time points against one of the better defenses, so they can score on anyone. The Texans put the clamps on Drew Brees and the Saints offensive bite quite nicely last week, especially after half time, and in amongst all the points I see the Texans having the edge defensively, precisely where the game will be won and lost. Turnovers could be the wild card. On the assumption that Houston’s ability to protect the football has improved of late this is one play I am pretty keen on.
The Snake’s Bite: It might be prudent to split a bet here and take the Texans for half at the +3 and half at the money line. The Browns have called upon Phil Dawson all season long and he has hit just about everything, including the miracle poster of last week to send the game into OT. I would prefer to have a little insurance whilst trying to secure some value at the line. If you’re feeling adventurous, a bet at the over 51 might add to the fun of watching that 70 yard TD pass fly.