The (4-7) Cleveland Browns matchup with the (1-9) Houston Texans in week 13 of the NFL season.
The Browns enter this matchup coming off a victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Who will prevail?
Let’s take a look at our writer’s bold predictions for this Sunday’s matchup.
Writer: Wendi Oliveros
I suppose many have had this game circled on their calendars since August.
It marks Deshaun Watson’s debut as the Browns QB1 after serving his 11-game suspension.
In an irony that only the NFL gods could orchestrate, it is against his former team, the Houston Texans, in Houston.
Watson joins the Browns after Jacoby Brissett gave it everything he had to keep this team afloat in the interim.
The fact the Browns played so well against Tampa Bay and delivered a big win partly for Brissett speaks volumes.
I think the Browns maintain that intensity and level of play from last week and win in Houston partly for Watson and partly to show the NFL what they are capable of when they play four solid quarters of football on Sunday afternoons.
Aside from Tampa Bay, only the Cincinnati Bengals saw that version of the 2022 Browns on Halloween night.
The Browns will win this game easily with a final score of 28-10; they do not need Watson to be at peak performance to win this game because it is possible he will not be after a 700-day hiatus between NFL games.
My Prediction: Browns 28, Texans 10
Writer: Pat Opperman
This Sunday will be like a second opening day for the Cleveland Browns.
Deshaun Watson makes his much-anticipated debut against his former team, the Houston Texans.
When I first saw Watson was going to play the Texans in his first game, I worried about the hype, emotions, and a hostile crowd.
But after watching their premier wide receiver, Brandin Cooks, talk to the press last week, I’m no longer worried.
In case you missed it, Cooks basically said the team knew they were outclassed minutes into last week’s game.
Granted, Miami got the best of the Browns, too.
But Houston appears to be on a death-spiral path toward the first overall draft pick.
And the Browns sound like they are absolutely energized by Watson’s presence.
It might take a quarter or 3 for their new quarterback to find his NFL speed.
But he will find it, and the Browns will roll despite any efforts to distract or protest from the stands.
It’s bound to be a big day for Nick Chubb, even if all eyes are on Watson.
And that’s good enough for Watson’s first Browns win.
My Prediction: Browns 31, Texans 19
Writer: Ben Donahue
The 4-7 Cleveland Browns head to Houston to take on a 1-9-1 Texans squad.
For the first time in two years, Deshaun Watson will be playing in his first meaningful game and it just so happens to come against the team that drafted him.
It’s going to be interesting to see if the Browns turn from a run-based offense to a more pass-happy system emphasizing Watson’s arm.
Nick Chubb will still get his carries and the Houston defense is giving up over five yards per carry to opposing running backs.
The Texans’ defense is ranked 23rd in the NFL and gave up a bunch of points to Miami last week.
Although Watson is coming in very cold, a healthy dose of Chubb and some strong, timely passing completions to Cleveland’s receivers will get the quarterback back in rhythm.
The only thing the Browns need to be wary of against a 31st-ranked Houston offense is running back Dameon Pierce.
Pierce has been dreadful the past two weeks, but he has six games with over 80 yards rushing (788 total yards for the season) and the Browns’ run defense is about as bad as the Texans’.
Assuming Cleveland gets fired up playing for the first time with their new franchise quarterback, this game should be a blowout.
My Prediction: Browns 28, Texans 13
Deshaun Watson will play quarterback for the Cleveland Browns in a regular season game for the very first time this Sunday.
What will he look like?
How much rust will be there?
How will the emotions of playing in Houston impact him?
These are the questions surrounding Sunday’s contest.
As far as the team as a whole is concerned, however, there is no reason to not leave Houston with a win.
This Texans team is bad.
Like, really bad.
The organization is a bit of a mess, hence why Watson wanted out in the first place.
At 1-9-1, though, they’re playing with house money on Sunday.
I’m sure some of those guys would love to beat Watson, too.
Still, that shouldn’t be enough for Houston to steal one.
Kyle Allen will start for just the second time this season for Houston after throwing a touchdown and two interceptions in last week’s loss to Miami.
If Cleveland can’t beat him, well, they’ve got some major problems moving forward.
My Prediction: Browns 27, Texans 13