With only three games remaining, the Cleveland Browns already know they'll have their second winning season over the past four years. Now, they want to lock up a playoff berth as well. Currently, they're the fifth seed and have the inside track but they can't afford to let any games slip away.
This weekend is an especially important one since they'll be taking on the Houston Texans. At 8-6, Houston is also in the playoff hunt and a win against the Browns would not only give them the same record, but they would also hold a tiebreaker over them due to the head-to-head victory.
A win for the road team would keep that from happening and it could lead to the Browns locking up a spot as early as this weekend. Much more has to happen beyond this outcome but all they can do is handle their own business. With that being said, let's look at the odds entering the weekend as well as a final score prediction.
Browns vs. Texans odds Week 16
Cleveland is favored on the road but only slightly. They're sitting at -2.5 and there are a couple of factors at play here. Yes, C.J. Stroud is out for the Texans but Cleveland hasn't been great on the road. Still, this feels like one they should be favored in. The Moneyline for them is -154 whereas the Texans are at +130. The over/under is 40.5.
Browns vs. Texans prediction Week 16
There's been a renewed sense of excitement in Cleveland ever since Joe Flacco took over as the starting quarterback. He's led them to a mark of 2-1 with wins over the Jaguars and Bears — one which was an impressive comeback. They wouldn't have needed a comeback if not for a slew of turnovers and that will be the focus this week.
Cleveland is still going to pass the ball, especially since Houston is very good against the run, but they won't be careless with it. That should allow the defense to stay fresh and while the Texans will get some points, they make a couple of key stops when it matters most. The Browns win and improve to 10-5.
Final score prediction: Browns 31, Texans 23