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The Cleveland Browns ended this season with a thud in a loss against the Cincinnati Bengals, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a Browns fan disappointed in that game.

We’ve got bigger fish to fry, and it starts with a playoff road contest against a fairly familiar opponent.

The Browns will play the Houston Texans in Cleveland’s first postseason appearance since 2020 on Saturday at 4:30 EST. The matchup takes place in Houston and is the NFL’s first playoff game of the 2023-24 season.

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The Browns and Texans met a few weeks ago in a regular season game that likely Rookie Of The Year (and former Ohio State QB) C.J. Stroud missed due to a concussion. Cleveland won it, 36-22, behind a strong performance from quarterback Joe Flacco and wide receiver Amari Cooper, who set a franchise record with 265 receiving yards.

Stroud, on the other hand, had a truly marvelous season for any QB, let alone a rookie. His 4108 passing yards were 8th most of any quarterback in the NFL, and his 25 TDs to 5 INTs were the best touchdown to interception ratio in the league.

As of the time of this writing, the Browns are -2.5 favorites to win the game.

If Cleveland beats the Texans then their next opponent would depend on the other winning AFC playoff teams. The NFL’s format requires that the highest seed plays the lowest seed. If the other two Wild Card teams (Dolphins, Steelers) lose, then Cleveland would be traveling to Baltimore to face the Ravens, the team who drafted and won a Super Bowl with Joe Flacco.

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