The Cleveland Browns are in the playoffs for the second time in four years. Kevin Stefanski, who won the NFL Coach of the Year Award in 2020 when they last made it, is once again in the running for the trophy. This time, it's due to the way he kept the team focused despite losing several star players on both sides of the ball.
Of course, awards aren't the concern right now. This team believes they can make a run and they should feel that way. Jim Schwartz has turned this defense into one of the best in the league and Joe Flacco has the offense playing well enough to win in a shootout.
They also have wins over the Texans, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, and Baltimore Ravens who are all in the playoffs. But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, we need to focus on this game. Let's do that by checking the odds while also offering up a final score prediction.
Browns vs. Texans odds Wild Card Round
Despite being on the road, the Browns are favored heading into the first playoff game. They're sitting at -2.5 with a MoneyLine of -144. The Texans MoneyLine is +122 and the over/under for the game is 44.5.
Browns vs. Texans prediction
This won't be the same style of game we saw in Week 16 for two reasons. One, the Texans will have C.J. Stroud back which will help them tremendously. Cleveland should also be in better shape since this was the game they lost Dustin Hopkins to a hamstring injury. With him out, they had to go for it on fourth-downs and left several points on the board.
Hopkins still won't play but with Joe Flacco lighting things up, they won't be relying on a field goal to win it. Sure, Riley Patterson might be needed to kick a couple, but he should be out there for extra points more than anything. Look for Flacco to do just enough as they hand Houston the loss — but it stays close thanks to Stroud, who is a gamer.
Final Score Prediction: Browns 34, Texans 27