The Cleveland Browns are “not a good matchup for the Houston Texans,” according to Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus.
Spielberger explains why in the clip below from PFF’s YouTube account as he breaks down the game with his colleague Sam Monson.
One of the biggest concerns he cites is C.J. Stroud’s struggles against man-to-man defenses.
“CJ Stroud has our third-best passing grade against zone (defense), 26th against man, and the Cleveland Browns lead us in man coverage on the season.”
Spielberger also believes the Texans rookie QB will be bothered by Cleveland’s pass rush.
“When pressured… it’s the one thorn in his side, and obviously the Browns have an elite front four to get home without blitzing”.
Stroud against Cleveland’s pass rush will be critical.
The Browns didn’t have a chance to get after Stroud in their first battle this season, as the rookie quarterback missed the game while under concussion protocol.
Likewise, Stroud is yet to contend with Cleveland’s defense and that elite front four.
Stroud, being a rookie, is obviously yet to appear in a postseason game.
Playoff environments are different than the regular season, and that could be another point of emphasis to watch with Stroud on Saturday.
Even in front of a home crowd, there’s plenty of added pressure this time of year.
Cleveland’s defense isn’t completely healthy, though, as Grant Delpit has already been ruled out for this weekend, and Denzel Ward is now questionable with a knee injury.
So, it may very well come down to Cleveland’s defensive front and how they get after Stroud.