Friday, October 13, 2017

Browns Preview 10/13/17: Cleveland Browns @ Houston Texans

By Katelin Marshall, @KatelinKnowsCLE

The winless Cleveland Browns travel to Houston to take on the (2-3) Texans this week. The Browns will be starting a new quarterback this week. Kevin Hogan gets the start in place of the struggling DeShone Kizer. The Texans could be without four starters on their defense and JJ Watt is out for the season with a broken leg. The Texans will start rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson, who the Texans traded up in the draft (with the Browns) to acquire.

Browns Offense vs Texans Defense

The Browns will be starting their 28th different quarterback since returning in 1999, and Hue Jackson will be on his fifth different starter since week one of last year. Kevin Hogan will be under center for the Browns this week. In three games this season, Hogan has thrown three touchdowns and two interceptions. But more importantly, he has a 68.4% completion percentage vs Kizer's 51%.

This week the Browns must rely on the run this week and it should be headlined by Duke Johnson. Johnson is averaging almost five yards per carry and is the leading receiver for the Browns, with 23 catches. Isaiah Crowell has struggled this year. He seems to have issues when he gets the ball on stretch plays. And even when he has gotten running room it seems like he misses the hole or the run blocking doesn't hold up. It should be interesting to see the snap count for each back at the end of this game. Also the Texans can't forget about Hogan as a runner. Hogan is someone who can run a read-option effectively. Last season Hogan ran for over 100 yards after replacing Cody Kessler against the Bengals.

The receiving situation will be interesting this week. Kenny Britt is expected to be back, along with Sammie Coates. But it does seem like Hogan and rookie tight end David Njoku have a lot of chemistry. Two of Hogan's touchdown passes were to Njoku including one last week in relief of Kizer. Ricardo Lewis was the leading receiver last week with five catches for 71 yards. With Britt on a snap count, Lewis will probably get the majority of the snaps.

Browns Defense vs Texans Offense

Contrary to the 0-5 record, the Browns have a top five defense in the NFL. On the other hand...the Texans have been good in their own right. They don't pass the ball as much, ranked 20th in yards per game, but they hold onto the ball and run the ball with a lot of success, ranked 4th in rushing yards per game.

Rookie Deshaun Watson has thrown 12 touchdowns and only four picks this season. He also has almost 200 rushing yards on the season and two rushing touchdowns. Watson's top target is DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins leads the Texans in catches with 35 and second on the team is Lamar Miller with 12. So the Browns desperately needs to shut down Hopkins this week in order to have success.

Miller is the leading rusher for the Texans with 331 yards and one touchdown. They also use rookie D'Onte Foreman who has 148 yards on the year and is averaging 3.8 yards per carry.

The Browns will have Jamie Collins back after missing the last three weeks with a concussion. The Browns defense will be a full strength for the first time this season. It should be interesting to see how everything plays out for the Browns and Gregg Williams.

Five Guys to Watch

1. Kevin Hogan: Hogan is making his first career start this week. Honestly I don't really know what to expect from Hogan besides him running the ball at times and throwing to Njoku.

2. David Njoku: Speaking of Njoku, he seems like an obvious guy to highlight this week. Hogan is comfortable throwing the ball his way and Njoku has come up big at times for the Browns in his young career.

3. Isaiah Crowell: I think this might be Crowell's last chance before he gets demoted to RB2. The Browns are going to run the ball a ton this week and Crowell is needed for this offense to have any sort of success. If he doesn't, Duke Johnson becomes the starter sooner rather than later.

4. Jamie Collins: Collins is one of the best linebackers in the league. Paired with Kirksey and Schobert the Browns should have more than enough to limit the running game of Houston's.

5. Myles Garrett: Speaking of helping the running game, Garrett playing more snaps this week is going to help too. Also with the Texans offensive line struggles, Garrett will need to capitalize on it in order to limit big plays from DeAndre Hopkins.

Weather Report

Injury Report

Betting Line: Houston -9.5

Prediction: Houston 20 Browns 14

The Browns fall to 0-6 and Hue Jackson record falls to 1-21 as the Browns Head Coach... All in all I think this team plays well but the limitations at quarterback and receiver will show its head this game. Hopefully I'm wrong again and the Browns end up helping themselves out by defeating the Texans.

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