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Texans vs. Browns Wild Card Round: How to Watch, Betting Odds

The Texans face the Browns at NRG Stadium in the Wild Card Round as Houston continues its amazing one-year turnaround.
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It's been a tremendous one-year turnaround for the Houston Texans. From 3-13-1 last season to 10-7 and a division title just a season later is a feat credited to new head coach DeMeco Ryans and some amazing rookies on the roster.

Houston returns to the postseason for the first time since 2019 behind rookie phenom quarterback C.J. Stroud and rookie defensive end Will Anderson, Jr.

Texans Browns

Texans Browns

Stroud had one of the greatest rookie quarterback seasons ever, throwing for 4,108 yards and 23 touchdowns despite missing two games late in the year with a concussion.

“He’s awesome,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said. “I remember watching him early because we had some crossover tape and getting ready to play Baltimore. I know ... that was his first game, and I think even in that game, you saw some plays and some throws where you knew right away that kid was really, really talented.”

Stroud's magic has helped quickly transform a team that won just seven games combined in the previous two seasons into a division winner. And it has Texans fans asking the question, "Deshaun who?"

Deshaun Watson was under center for the Texans in their last playoff appearance in 2019 before being traded to Cleveland. Watson is injured and Houston will face 38-year-old journeyman Joe Flacco instead. Flacco will turn 39 just three days after the game.

The former Ravens Super Bowl MVP went 4-1 as a starter to help launch the Browns to the playoffs after the Watson injury. It's just the Browns' third playoff appearance since re-joining the league in 1999 - but the second in four seasons under Stafanski.

This is Flacco's 17th playoff game with his first coming in 2009 when Stroud was just eight years old.

“I’m sure there’s a level of importance to it in terms of letting the football game come to you,” Flacco said. “Not necessarily riding too high and riding too low when things happen, realizing that it is another football game, but ultimately the most important thing in playoff games is executing your fundamentals to the highest degree. And I don’t think that that necessarily takes experience to do. It just takes you staying levelheaded and playing within yourself.”

Ryans is just 39 years old and laughed when a reporter referred to Flacco as "old."

“It’s impressive that Joe is still operating at a high level," Ryans said. "There is no let-up in the arm strength, the decision making — it’s all still elite, at a high level. ... So, it is impressive to see a guy as young as he is making plays, but he’s the reason why that team is in the position they’re in right now because he has that experience, he’s been there before, and I know that those guys believe in him.”

WHAT: Cleveland Browns (11-6, 3-5 Road) at Houston Texans (10-7, 6-3 Home)

WHERE: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX (72,220)

WHEN: Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024, 3:30 p.m. CT

TELEVISION: NBC | FuboTV (try it free)

RADIO: Sports Radio 610 (KILT-AM) | 100.3 The Bull

Get your tickets at SI Tickets

Betting via SI SportsBook

SPREAD: Texans +1.5

TOTAL: 44.5

MONEYLINE: Browns -133, Texans +110