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Houston Texans vs. Cleveland Browns: Week 13: Three things to watch

Calvin Crawford

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The Houston Texans will take on the Cleveland Browns in what could be an explosive matchup for the ages. It’s time to take a look at the matchups as well as where to lay your money on for this game. Read further.

Houston Texans (8-3) vs. Cleveland Browns (4-6-1)
Sunday, Dec. 2 at Noon on CBS
MyBookie line: Texans -5.5
Over/under: 47

The Houston Texans defeated Tennessee 34-17 on Monday night to cap off Week 12 action and have won an astounding 8 games in a row, for the first time in franchise history, after starting 0-3. In the second game of their current three-game homestand, the Texans welcome this season’s No. 1 pick in Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns to town. Since the long-overdue firing of head coach Hue Jackson after Week 8, the Browns have gone 2-1 with Gregg Williams at the helm with wins against the Falcons and Bengals.

Mayfield erupted for four touchdowns against the Bengals last week with offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens opening up the playbook and letting #6 sling it. This game will feature two of the greatest college quarterbacks of all-time; Deshaun Watson and Mayfield squared off on back New Year’s Eve in 2015 during the College Football Playoff semifinal with Watson and the Clemson Tigers getting the best of Mayfield and the Oklahoma Sooners. This has all the makings of a shootout if Houston isn’t careful, so let’s take a look at matchups to watch and gambling outlook in this AFC clash.

Baker Mayfield vs. J.J. Watt/Jadeveon Clowney/Christian Covington/Whitney Mercilus

Last week at Cincy, Mayfield was able to avoid the pass rush, step up in the pocket, and make accurate throws into the end zone for touchdowns; he didn’t run around on the edge and escape. Baker has nine touchdowns and one interception since the coaching and OC change in Cleveland. On Monday night against the Titans, the Texans defensive front was able to take down Marcus Mariota six times for sacks. If Houston can get to Mayfield like they did Mariota and bring him down on 1st contact, then there won’t be those big plays. Mayfield is a far better passer than Mariota so this matchup will be essential. J.J. Watt is 2nd in the league with 11.5 sacks and you know he wants to feast on the rookie.

Lamar Miller vs. Cleveland run defense

The most important sequence of plays from Monday’s game happened in the 2nd quarter when Houston stuffed Tennessee on 4th-and-1 inside the five-yard line and the Texans’ offense took over at their own three-yard line. On the very next play from scrimmage, Miller took a simple inside run on the right side 97 yards to the house. He finished with 167 yards on only 12 carries. Alfred Blue actually had one more carry than Miller and finished with 49 yards and Watson had nine rushes for 70 yards with his 15-yard touchdown run. The Titans have a middle-of-the-pack run defense but the Browns boast the 28th-best run defense in the league, giving up almost five YPC and more than 130 YPG. The Texans’ offense and Bill O’Brien will most likely follow this trend Sunday, which will also open up the play-action calls to take shots downfield.

Gambling

As of this writing, the line is currently Texans -5.5 and the over/under is 47. Last Monday, I took Texans -4 and the over of 43 with a predicted 34-17 Texans win, and that’s exactly what happened. This week, I again like the Texans at -5.5 and the over of 47, with a 38-24 Texans win. The Texans will go over 30 again at home, and Mayfield and the Browns will still be able to put points on the board. The Browns may come out and score quickly like the Titans did when they went up 10-0 but Houston will settle in and go to work. They must be butter, cause they’re on a roll.

After this week, the Texans will face off against a red hot Colts team who is doing a good job of keeping pace in the AFC South. Houston is in a good spot in the season with this homestand to make a statement with more wins and host a playoff game or get a 1st round bye. We’ll see if they can keep the magic alive on Sunday.

Those are three things that you must look for in Sunday’s matchup against the Browns.  Do you agree?  Feel free to sound off in the comments section below.

Interested in writing for Locked On Texans?  Tweet us: @LockedOnTexans, Facebook: Locked On Texans or drop us a line at [email protected]

I graduated from Texas Tech University in the Spring of 2016 with a degree in Sport Management, as in I had no idea what I wanted to do but wanted to be around sports. I’ve always have had a rooting interest in the Texans as they have been secretly consistent these past few years, making the playoffs four times in seven seasons since I was a freshman in college in 2011. I am currently a student at Texas Chiropractic College getting my doctorate in chiropractic, and my medical background has been very helpful covering the NFL and the Texans.

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Houston Texans

Houston Texans: Rob and Brian’s final sign-off from Locked on Texans

Brian K. Patterson

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Houston Texans
Mandatory Credit: Brian K. Patterson

Brian and Robert say goodbye to Locked on Texans.  After 540 episodes, we bid a tearful farewell to Houston Texans faithful, reminisce about our tenure and share some final thoughts on the Houston Texans future.

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Houston Texans

Houston Texans: The best free agents to target in the 2019 off season

Joseph Esquivel-Murphy

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Houston Texans
Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Texans off season is here and there’s a lot of work to do to prep this team for 2019. Who are the top free agents that the team should go after? Let’s take a look at the players who would make an impact.

The Houston Texans were one of the NFL’s better success stories this season after starting the season 0-3. J.J. Watt returned as one of the league’s most dominant defensive players, while free agent signee Tyrann Mathieu was a playmaker at the safety position. Third-round pick Justin Reid was one of the league’s best rookies and a starter in the Texans’ secondary for years to come.

DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson maintained their solid connection from last year as the former was named to his second consecutive first team All-Pro. Despite being sacked a league high 62 times, Watson passed for 4,165 yards and 26 touchdowns as he led the Texans to a 11-5 record and the AFC South division title. Lamar Miller was only 27 yards from his third 1,000+ yard season, despite missing two games because of injuries.

While the offense did put up strong numbers, the offensive line was a liability throughout the season as Watson was constantly under pressure, while Miller and the rest of the Texan running backs had few running lanes. Right tackle Seantrel Henderson was signed to fix those problems but he broke his ankle in the season opener and did not play for the rest of the season. He is a free agent now and so is Kendall Lamm, the man who replaced Henderson on the offensive line.

Julie’n Davenport struggled at left tackle and Martinas Rankin has not shown enough to yet to be a contributor on the offensive line. While Jadeveon Clowney and Mathieu are both free agents who need to be brought back, improving the offensive line is the team’s biggest priority in the off season. The Texans need to address the offensive line in both free agency and the draft as the unit struggled to protect Watson.

In regard to bringing in help via free agency, Daryl Williams missed most of the 2018 season with a shoulder injury but he was a second team All-Pro in 2017 and is the top tackle available.

His value might not as high because of the shoulder injury but Williams is one of the league’s better tackles and the Texans need to get him in free agency to bolster their offensive line. Williams is a mauler that should help create running lanes for Miller, while keeping Watson upright in the pocket. If the Texans are unable to sign him, Ja’Wuan James and Roger Saffold are the next best offensive linemen available in free agency and both players should be targeted by the Texans.

An upgrade in the secondary is also needed as Shareece Wright struggled in coverage, while Kayvon Webster and Aaron Colvin battled to stay healthy. Kareem Jackson had a great year for the Texans but is another Texans’ free agent that has to be re-signed.

Ronald Darby and Lamarcus Joyner are the best players available in free agency that can cover receivers in the slot and both players should be targeted by Bill O’Brien.

The Texans need to address their own free agents first as Clowney, Mathieu and Jackson were all vital parts to the team’s success in 2018.

What do you think?  Feel free to comment in the section below.

Interested in writing for Locked On Texans?  Tweet us: @LockedOnTexans, Facebook: Locked On Texans or drop us a line at [email protected]

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Houston Texans

Houston Texans: Identifying the team’s most glaring weaknesses

Brian K. Patterson

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Houston Texans
Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

What are the Houston Texans biggest weaknesses going into the 2019 off season?  Rob and Brian bring on State of the Texans’ BigRon to discuss what needs to be done to fix a team that has tons of potential to be dominant.  What’s the best way to improve the offensive line?  Is Julién Davenport still worth developing and what should we expect to see in additional development?

How about the thought of shifting Greg Mancz to center and Nick Martin to guard?  The trio also discusses the future of Whitney Mercilus on the roster as well as certain defensive lineman not getting enough playing time.  What else?  Take a listen to find out more!

Subscribe to us daily on Spotify, iTunes, Stitcher, Tunein or the Google Podcast app.
Email [email protected] or call (903) 265-9629 for Questions or Comments.
Follow us on Twitter @LockedonTexans, @HSTPodcast @HouseofHouston & @LockedonNFLNet

 

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Houston Texans

Houston Texans: Le’Veon Bell and plethora of free agent running backs

Brian K. Patterson

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Houston Texans
Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

What’s the best way for the Houston Texans to fix the running backs position for the 2019 season?  They certainly can do better than bringing back Alfred Blue.  Rob and Brian talk about what the team needs to do and gives their top free agent running backs to help this offense flourish.  Is bringing in Le’Veon Bell a possibility?  Can the Houston Texans get the back they want in this season’s draft?

The duo discusses that plus gives their thoughts of Indianapolis Colts’ firing offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo and the interesting back story that likely factored into the move.  Plus, Gary Kubiak finds a new job in the NFL.   What else?  Take a listen to find out more!

Subscribe to us daily on Spotify, iTunes, Stitcher, Tunein or the Google Podcast app.
Email [email protected] or call (903) 265-9629 for Questions or Comments.
Follow us on Twitter @LockedonTexans, @HSTPodcast @HouseofHouston & @LockedonNFLNet

 

 

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