Texans vs Browns Week 2 Picks and Predictions: Cleveland Emphatically Rebounds From Week 1 Loss

The Browns get a chance to rebound from a disappointing Week 1 loss in their home opener against Houston this Sunday. Despite being double-digit chalk, we're backing Cleveland, and its punishing ground game, to take out its frustrations on the Texans.

Last Updated: Sep 16, 2021 11:08 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Nick Chubb Cleveland Browns NFL
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The Cleveland Browns let a road victory slip through their fingers in Week 1, while the Houston Texans easily won at home in their season opener.

Get a good look at the Texans ahead of the Browns in the standings: This might be the only time we see it all season, as a course correction is expected this week, with NFL betting odds having Cleveland as a double-digit favorite at home.

Will Cleveland, a team with Super Bowl aspirations, get into the win column against a team that's projected to battle for the No. 1-overall pick? Get our thoughts in our Texans vs. Browns picks and predictions for Sunday, September 19. 

Texans vs Browns odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

The lookahead line in the summer opened with the Browns at -13.5 but official Week 2 lines posted Cleveland as an 11.5-point favorite following its collapse against the Chiefs. That spread has shifted, at the time of writing, up to -12.5 with the vast majority of betting money going on the home side. The total, which officially opened at 48, still sits at that number. Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until kickoff and be sure to check out the full NFL odds before placing your bets.

Texans vs Browns picks

Picks made on 9/16/2021 at 10:52 a.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Texans vs Browns game info

Location: FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, OH
Date: Sunday, September 19, 2021
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET

Texans at Browns betting preview


Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our NFL weather info.

Key injuries

Texans: Vincent Taylor DT (Out), DeMarcus Walker DT (Out), Jonathan Greenard DE (Out).
Browns: Odell Beckham Jr. WR (Out), Chris Hubbard OT (Out).
Find our latest NFL injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Texans are 2-5-1 ATS in their last eight games following a SU win. Find more NFL betting trends for Texans vs. Browns.

Texans vs Browns predictions

It was a tale of two halves for the Browns last week at Kansas City. In the first two quarters, Cleveland outgained Kansas City 329-183, had a roughly even time of possession, and went into halftime with a 22-10 lead.

The third and fourth quarters, however, saw Cleveland totally meltdown: An uncharacteristic fumble by RB Nick Chubb. Blown coverage on a 75-yard Tyreek Hill TD. A dropped punt. It destroyed the rhythm of the offense, which gained just 145 total yards, had just one possession run longer than 1:44 (the Browns lost the TOP battle 18:23-11:37 in the second half), and put up a single touchdown in an eventual 33-29 defeat.

The silver lining for the Browns is that they showed off what looks to be a very dynamic offense and proved they can go toe-to-toe with the NFL's elite — which the Texans certainly are not.

Yes, Houston enters Week 2 with a 1-0 record, but that came after a home thrashing of the Jacksonville Jaguars... who are somehow worse than we even expected them to be. But, credit to the Texans — and journeyman QB Tyrod Taylor — for putting up 229 passing yards in the first half, jumping out to a 14-0 lead, and holding a 27-7 edge at halftime.

Looking at how Houston got out to that lead, however, showed that Jacksonville's first three drives featured 12 pass plays and two rushes... and the Jags finished the game with 51 passing attempts, just 16 runs, and 10 penalties.

And if you know anything about the Browns, they may do the exact opposite. Cleveland possesses one of the league's most dynamic running attacks and will establish the ground game early and often — exploiting a Texans defense that gave up the most rushing yards, yards per carry, and second-must rushing touchdowns in 2020 — and setting up QB Baker Mayfield for play-action passes to his plethora of receiving options (even without Odell Beckham Jr. in the lineup).

Houston also ran 41 times in Week 1, albeit for an inefficient 3.9 ypc, as it controlled the tempo and wore down Jacksonville. The Texans won't have that luxury this Sunday, considering Cleveland held KC to 3.2 yards per carry, and will have to lean more on Taylor's arm to keep up with a more balanced (and just better) Browns offense.

Houston's Week 1 win was nice, but the fact of the matter is it came against an equally bad team. The Browns are nearly two-touchdown favorites for a reason: They're better from top-to-bottom, it's their home opener, and they're pissed off after playing 30 good minutes last week. Look for Cleveland to play a full 60 this Sunday and take its frustrations out on the Texans in an emphatic fashion.

Both teams surpassed the Over in Week 1, with the Texans scoring 37 points alone (58 total) and the Browns contributing 29 of their game's 62 points.

While we don't expect Houston to put up 37 again — not only is Cleveland's defense better but the Browns' run-heavy gameplan will mean the Texans simply won't have the ball as much — we could see Cleveland hanging a crooked number. But will that be enough?

Of the Browns' 33 points conceded last week, 10 of those came as a result of Cleveland turnovers and another touchdown came on a long bomb that was a direct result of Hill's speed. And while Brandin Cooks is good, he's not the Cheetah... and Houston doesn't have a fearsome TE like Travis Kelce (who found paydirt twice against Cleveland) and Taylor isn't exactly Patrick Mahomes, either.

We've established that we don't expect Houston to run, meaning the Texans need to put up points in the passing game against a revamped Cleveland secondary (without the aforementioned superstars that KC possesses). What's that good for? Two touchdowns?

That means it's on Cleveland to drop around five touchdowns. It's certainly possible, but we expect the run-heavy offense to churn out a ton of clock. Limited possessions mean every drive will essentially need to end with seven points, and requiring Cleveland to be perfect on offense is just a bit much to ask.

Cleveland has the scariest one-two RB punch in the league, between Chubb and Kareem Hunt, but the fourth-year man out of Georgia is the lead dog in the Dawg Pound.

Chubb ran 15 times for 83 yards last week at Kansas City (5.5 ypc) with two touchdowns. He has now scored a rushing TD in seven straight regular season games, dating back to last season. And, to reiterate: This week he faces a Texans defense that gave up 160.3 rushing yards and 1.5 rushing TDs per game last year.

Cleveland went 4 for 4 in the Red Zone last week, with all four touchdowns coming via runs. The Browns clearly showed they can (and will) run when near the end zone — and as we expect them to do so again this week, Chubb seems like a great bet to log at least one more score this Sunday.

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