NFL 2023 Playoffs – Cleveland Browns @ Houston Texans Tips, TV and Betting Preview

The NFL 2023 Playoffs get underway on Saturday night and they start off with a potential crackerjack of a game as the AFC South winners Houston Texans play host to the Cleveland Browns with the winners potentially off to the Baltimore Ravens next week.

The two quarterbacks on show here already make for a wonderful story but we have one of those weird wildcard situations where the visiting team have more regular season wins than the home side and it is always interesting to see if home field advantage prevails over the better record.

Houston Texans

This is officially the first knockout round of the season but the Houston Texans have already effectively played one because their final regular season clash with the Indianapolis Colts last week was do or die. It was a situation where you didn’t quite know how their rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud would react, especially with the game moved to a primetime slot last Saturday but within one offensive play he put any doubts to bed and led the Texans in fine style.

On the fact of it, the Houston Texans have what successful teams in January need. They have a mobile quarterback who is capable of stretching the field with his arm and picking up first downs with his legs, a balanced offense that can control the clock when necessary and a defence which can come up with key plays at the right time. When you add home advantage into the mix the Texans should give a good account of themselves at the very least.

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Cleveland Browns

This has been an eventful season for the Cleveland Browns who you would have thought would be done once Deshaun Watson was suspended. If you had said at the start of the season that the Browns would make the playoffs and Joe Flacco would be the quarterback you’d have got a few funny looks but he has led the team to the postseason and will be looking to go a little deeper than just the wildcard round here.

The Browns came out of the best division in football with an 11-6 record courtesy of having the number one ranked defence in the league and that defence will be needed here. If it comes to the party in the way it has been doing this term then Flacco isn’t going to need to score an insane amount of points and Cleveland can manage the clock and give themselves the best chance of winning. They also know that they won 36-22 here on Christmas Eve.


Ever since Joe Flacco came into the Cleveland Browns ranks the action of David Njoku has elevated significantly. He has clearly been the favourite target of the former Baltimore quarterback and I don’t see much of a reason why that won’t remain the case here. Quarterbacks generally stick with their preferred choices in the big matches and so I think the 55.5 receiving yard line of the Cleveland tight end is very much on the low side here.

He has cleared 90 yards in three of his last four matches and also covered this line in three of the four matches prior to that run so that also makes the line look low. Flacco might be under pressure at times in this one so he will take the easy option available to him which would be to find the tight end who has a habit of finding himself in plenty of space. Njoku only went for 44 yards on Christmas Eve but he caught six passes. If he catches six here I expect him to clear this receiving yards line.


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