Joe Flacco’s Browns to defeat C.J. Stroud in Houston on Saturday

  • Houston (10-7) is a 3-point home underdog to the Browns (11-6) on Super Wild Card WeekendΒ 
  • C.J. Stroud is favored for Offensive Rookie of the Year after passing for 4,108 yards, 23 TDs and 5 INTs
  • The first NFL playoff game of the year kicks off from NRG Stadium in Houston, TX on Saturday at 4:30pm ET

C.J. Stroud and the Texans will host Joe Flacco and the Browns in the opening matchup of Super Wild Card Weekend. Houston defeated the Colts 23-19 on Saturday night and clinched the AFC South title for the first time since 2019 thanks to the Jaguars loss on Sunday. Meanwhile, Cleveland is making its first playoff appearance since 2020.

Before we check the odds on this AFC Wild Card matchup and make our picks, here’s where you can find the best tips for betting on the 2024 NFL playoffs and the top betting sites for NFL football.

Texans vs Browns

BetOnline ReviewSpreadMoney LineTotal Points
Cleveland Browns-3.0 (+104)-147Ov 44.0 (-110)
Houston Texans+3.0 (-124)+127Un 44.0 (-110)

Stroud’s incredible rookie year

C.J. Stroud passed for 264 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions in a do-or-die, playoff-clinching victory over the division-rival Colts on Saturday night. The 2023 Offensive Rookie of the Year favorite is the first freshman player to lead his team into the playoffs since Andrew Luck, finishing the season with 4,108 passing yards, 23 TDs and just five picks.

Interestingly enough, the Texans’ high-profile divorce from Deshaun Watson led them to draft Stroud at no. 2 overall. Watson will now be watching from a press box as journeyman Joe Flacco leads his Browns into Houston.

Joe Flacco’s miracle comeback

Joe Flacco has led the Browns to a 4-1 record since taking over, reeling off four consecutive starts with at least 300 passing yards and two passing TDs. Tight end David Njoku has been the main beneficiary of theΒ 38-year-old veteran’s arrival, making 28 receptions for 373 yards and four scores in his last four games.

With three full weeks of rest, Amari Cooper should be fully recovered from his heel injury. He had a career day the last time he suited up, roasting this same Texans secondary for 265 yards and 2 TDs.

Cleveland Brownsto win vs Texans
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-147
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OVER 44Texans vs Browns
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-110
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Houston vs Cleveland

Cleveland is a 3-point road favorite at NRG Stadium on Saturday, with the over/under set at 44 points. Flacco threw for 368 yards with three TDs and two INTs in a 36-22 blowout of Houston on Christmas Eve. However, Stroud missed that game while in concussion protocol.

The Browns defense has allowed the fewest passing yards per game (164.7) in the NFL. With Texans rookie Tank Dell lost for the season, expect Jim Schwartz to try and take Nico Collins out of the game after the third-year receiver exploded for 195 yards and a TD against Indianapolis.

Coach of the Year showdown?

While sportswriters will cast their votes before this Wild Card game gets underway, it features two of the leading contenders for the 2023 NFL Coach of the Year award. Previous winner Kevin Stefanski led Cleveland to the playoffs despite having to play four different QBs. And DeMeco Ryans helped Houston improve from 3-13-1 last year to 10-7 division champs. Our money is on the Texans head coach.

Best Bet

C.J. Stroud has exhibited “clutch” traits in big games in both college and professional football. However, while he faces the NFL’s toughest pass defense, Joe Flacco will be up against a bottom-ten unit.

We’ll take the Browns to coverΒ (-3.0) with the OVER 44 points.

Cleveland Brownsto cover vs Texans
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-3.0
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Steve Starr

Steve is the quintessential American sports enthusiast. He has mastered the art of Sundays, devoting them to football, and barbecue parties. He proudly wears the hats of a good father, husband and a great dog owner. Aside from his decades of contributing to different top-tier sports publications, Steve has also found his niche on Twitter, where he publishes funny and relatable sports-related insights. When he's not busy tweeting, Steve loves to watch each game unfold live. He possesses an innate talent for finding humor in the sports world, appreciating both the thrilling moments and the comedic mishaps that make each event unique.

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