Houston Texans at Cleveland Browns
Date and Time: Sunday, 11/16/14 at 1:00pm (EST) on CBS
Game Line: Cleveland -3.5 (from WagerWeb)
Houston Texans at Cleveland Browns Sunday NFL Football Analysis: The Cleveland Browns take on the Houston Texans on Sunday from FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland Ohio.
This will actually be one of the more intriguing matchups on Sunday because it will be the battle of former New England backup quarterbacks Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer. The Browns are coming off a monumental road win last Thursday night winning in Cincinnati 24-3. The Browns snapped a 17 game divisional road losing streak, and to them it was a huge win. It was a game that showed that Cleveland is a forced to be reckoned with in the AFC North and is no longer a pretender. The Cleveland defense might have had their finest performance of the season, as they forced Andy Dalton into 3 interceptions and only allowed 86 yards passing. They frustrated Dalton and the offense throughout the night, allowing just 11 first downs and 165 total yards. Brian Hoyer looked like the quarterback that should have had the 100 million dollar contract, not Dalton, as he was efficient completing 15 of 23 passes for 198 yards. His stats weren’t eye-popping, but he made plays when he had to. As good as Cleveland looked, I think Cincinnati was just flat, from the interception on their opening drive, something just wasn’t right with the Bengals.
Houston is coming off their bye week, and Ryan Mallett will get his first NFL start after being a backup to Tom Brady in New England and being traded before the start of the regular season. If you’re not familiar with Mallett, you can look at his highlights on YouTube and see one thing, the guy has a very live arm. In his time in New England his offensive coordinator was Bill O’Brien, who is now the Houston Texans’ head coach. O’Brien might have his quarterback of the future, as it’s been known he likes Mallett’s skill set. Houston is getting a great performance out of running back Arian Foster this season, as he has tallied 822 yards and 7 touchdowns and averaging 5.11 yards per carry. On defense, it all starts with none other than J.J. Watt, who is in the running for defensive player of the year honors. As good of a player as Watt is, you would be surprised at Houston’s defensive numbers, as they rank 28th in the league in total defense allowing 346.6 yards per game.
Do you remember the last time Cleveland had a huge divisional win this season? Well, it was a 31-10 victory over Pittsburgh and you might want to take a look at their next game. They lost….to Jacksonville. While Cleveland has had extra time to prepare, Houston has had more even more time coming off the bye. There’s another factor, with Mallett now the starter the Browns don’t have film on him in this Texans offense. Many people might be eager to take the Browns this week with such a soft number and against a quarterback in his first NFL start. Well Bill O’Brien is no dummy; he’s starting Mallett because he thinks he’s ready, and because he thinks Mallett gives them the best chance to win. I’m grabbing the points with the Texans, who’ve had more time to prepare, and have a quarterback that the Browns are very unfamiliar with. I like the Texans to win outright against a Browns team that is most likely not as good as their record would indicate.
Sunday NFL Week 11 Houston Texans at Cleveland Browns Free Picks: Houston +3.5, Over 41
Houston Texans at Cleveland Browns Game Prediction: Houston 23 – Cleveland 20