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Houston Texans: 4 bold predictions for Week 2 vs. Browns

Browns, Texans, David Culley, Kevin Stefanski, Tyrod Taylor, Baker Mayfield

There were a lot of shocking things that happened in Week 1 of the NFL season but perhaps none as shocking as what the Houston Texans pulled off. Houston was looked at as easily the worst team in the league with journeyman quarterback Tyrod Taylor leading a group that seems to have at least one star player request out every season. Despite all the odds, the Texans blew out the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 1, spoiling the debut of Trevor Lawrence and causing a lot of people to take a second look at this team. Is it possible they won’t be terrible?

4. Week 2 is another blowout, but not for the Texans

The Texans will head to Cleveland this week to take on a Browns squad that just lost a heartbreaker to the Kansas City Chiefs. The Browns showed they’re still going to be one of the best teams in the league despite the loss and they will be starving for a win. Losing a game like they did leaves a sour taste in anyone’s mouth and there are few teams better to get that taste out of their mouth than the  Texans. Expect Baker Mayfield to lead this Browns high-flying offense to a big win.

Does this mean everything the Texans did in Week 1 was just fake and they aren’t actually good? Well, yes and no. The Texans won’t be good in the win column but we can probably expect them to hang around in most games instead of being completely lifeless and getting blown out. This is going to be a much more competitive team than most thought during the preseason and for that, you have to give credit to the coaching staff and Tyrod Taylor. They all knew what the expectations for this team are but they’re helping raise the bar.

3. The Taylor to Cooks connections stays alive

Brandin Cooks is one of the few remaining players on the Texans that you can expect to consistently perform at a fairly high level. He has had 1,000 yards or more receiving in five of his last six seasons, including last season which was his first in Houston. Cooks has always been pretty underrated because he isn’t flashy and played behind bigger names with the Rams but it’s time he get the recognition he deserves. Weirdly enough, that could come while playing in Houston, a team not many will pay attention to.

Taylor targeted Cooks in seven of his 33 attempts in Week 1. Cooks brought in five of those targets for catches and racked up 132 total yards. The Taylor and Cooks duo was an unexpected pleasant surprise for fantasy owners and Texans fans. His catches and targets should approach double digits in Week 2 as the Texans will likely be playing catch up for most of the game. When Taylor drops back against the Browns he’ll surely be looking for his number one wide receiver so if Cooks can get open he’s going to get the ball even more than in Week 1.

2. No single Houston running back will have 15 touches

The Texans running back group is full of players who used to be good but just aren’t quite the same player anymore. The group consists of Mark Ingram, David Johnson, Phillip Lindsay, and Rex Burkhead. It looks like a bad Fantasy football bench but they made it work at times in Week 1. Ingram had the most carries with 26 for 85 yards, clearly getting a shot as the number one back. He averaged just 3.3 yards per carry so nothing crazy. Phillip Lindsay had the second-most carries with 8 for 25 yards while Johnson carried the ball just three times for 10 yards.

No one stood out but Ingram still got the huge bulk of the workload. That could happen again in Week 2 for the Texans, but expect much more of a committee in coming weeks. Along with spreading the ball out more, Houston won’t be running the ball as much. Week 1 saw them carry the ball 41 times and pass 33 times. There’s no way that keeps up, especially when considering the Texans will rarely be blowing teams out like they did in Week 1. That allowed them to run a lot more so expect more Taylor throws and a more spread-out run game in Week 2.

1. The defense gives up 40 points

I’m going all-in with not believing the Texans’ Week 1 performance was real and that comes with the defense having a reverse performance from the Jaguars game. In the Week 1 matchup against the Jaguars, the Texans gave up just 21 points which was fairly impressive but it was against the Jaguars. Keep in mind that the team picked first overall and despite being a franchise full of potential, they’re not good yet. It’ll take some time for Trevor Lawrence to click with his young receivers but the Browns are the opposite. They’ve had time to connect.

Expect Baker Mayfield and the Browns offense to be firing on all cylinders after their loss to the Chiefs. That game was in their grasp but it slipped through their fingers in the final quarter. Cleveland wants to show they aren’t messing around this season and the best way to do that is by destroying the Texans. The Browns are favored by 12.5 points and they could definitely hit 40 in this one. This could be less a rip of a Texans defense everyone expects to be bad and more of praise to the Cleveland offense.