Houston Texans (1-0) at Cleveland Browns (0-1)
The Browns lost week one, but they were probably the most impressive team to lose a game, as they went on the road and outperformed the Chiefs in more predictive metrics like first down rate (42.11% vs. 34.43%) and yards per play (8.16 vs. 6.51), primarily losing the game because they lost the turnover margin, which is much less predictive. The Browns had the potential to be one of the most complete teams in the league this year, with a much improved defense, so even with a week one loss, I liked what I saw from them to open the season.
The Texans, meanwhile, were the worst team to win a game week one, winning at home against a Jaguars team that still looks like one of the worst in the league. I had the Texans winning just two games in my season preview, but I thought there was a decent chance one of those would be their week one game and, much like the Jaguars last year when they went 1-15 after starting 1-0, we could easily see the Texans now go on a long losing streak. This line should be higher, even with it already being 12.5. There isn’t quite enough here for the Browns to be worth betting on and they didn’t win many games in blowout fashion last season, but this is a better team than a year ago and they seem likely to win by a couple touchdowns.
Cleveland Browns 31 Houston Texans 17
Pick against the spread: Cleveland -12.5