Key #1: Win the Key Matchups
Two key matchups on both sides of the ball will be critical for Cleveland in order to beat the Texans on the road.
Matchup 1: Browns Offensive Line vs. J.J. Watt and Jadevon Clowney
Watt, perhaps the best player in the NFL when fully healthy, and Clowney have recorded 17.5 sacks between the two of them this year, while the Texans at large have recorded 37, good for fourth in the NFL. This is no doubt the best defense the Browns have played. In order to set Baker Mayfield and company up for success, the Browns’ battered offensive line will need to weather the storm long enough to allow Mayfield and Chubb space to operate and make plays. Expect to see two tight-end sets on the exterior line to counter the influence of these two heavyweight pass rushers.
Matchup 2: Denzel Ward vs. DeAndre Hopkins
DeAndre Hopkins has made his case for being the best in the business this season and has become DeShaun Watson’s favorite target as the former Clemson teammates have connected for over 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns on the season. Standing in the way of in the way of this critical connection is Rookie of the Year candidate, Denzel Ward. Houston will largely remain on the ground, but if the run game stalls, Denzel will need to be there to stall the Texans’ offense.
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