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Browns receivers looking forward to second meeting against the Texans defensive backs


On Saturday, the Browns receiving corps will face off against a Texans defensive group that will seek revenge after they were torched by Cleveland in Week 16. 

The Texans defensive backs take pride in themselves and will play a physical game in the first round of the playoffs, after allowing 364 net passing yards to the Browns in Week 16. The Texans secondary is a unique group that may give up a ton of yards but finds a way to stop teams from scoring.

They have given up a total of 4,334 passing yards this season, ranking 24th in the league. They also allow 7.7 yards per catch, which is tied for 29th in the league. They rank 13th in preventing third-down passes with a rate of 32.7 percent. However, they have allowed the fewest receiving touchdowns at 17.

"They had a good outing against us, but Coop got loose," WR David Bell said. "Against the Colts, they played well too. For them, it's just about staying consistent and making plays with (Derek) Stingley and (Steven) Nelson on the outside and their nickel corner (Desmond) King. They have a handful of great players on the back end, so we have to be ready."

The Texans defensive backs will make adjustments, but the Browns passing game has been excelling since Week 13. The unit is playing its best football of the season and has consistency at quarterback. Since Week 13, Joe Flacco has been the starting quarterback for the Browns. He has been consistently available to play every game day, which has been crucial for the sustained play from the receivers. 

From Weeks 13 through Week 17, the Browns averaged 326.8 receiving yards and scored 13 touchdowns. Before that, they have only scored nine passing touchdowns from Weeks 1 through 12. However, the turnovers have been their only concern throughout the whole season. This season, they have thrown 23 interceptions, which leads the league. Even with Flacco, they have committed eight interceptions. Despite the interceptions, they have managed to find ways to win games. However, as a unit, they aim to avoid committing any during the postseason.

"Not looking into it that deep right now, just try not to turn the ball over," OC Alex Van Pelt said. "The more I talk about it, the more I start sweating."

Check out photos of the team working to prepare for the Houston Texans.

While turnovers have been an issue for the Browns, their star receiver has been a problem for opposing teams. The last time WR Amari Cooper played was Week 16 against the Texans, where he broke multiple Browns records. He became the first Browns player to record back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons in the first quarter. But he wouldn't stop there as he finished with 11 receptions for a career-high 265 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

His 265 receiving yards were not only the most by a receiver this season but also surpassed former WR Josh Gordon for the most receiving yards in a game by a Brown. The game was historic, but the Browns shouldn't expect a similar outing, as the Texans will make adjustments.

Cooper missed the last two games of the regular season as he's been dealing with a heel injury. He did not participate in practice on Tuesday or Wednesday of this week. If Cooper is able to play in the Wild Card game, this time around, the Texans defensive backs will make him the primary focus. It could also open up more opportunities for other Browns receivers.

"Houston, they're not really a man team, so I think that the chances of them using a player to shadow me is a little bit less than what it would be if they were a man team, but you never know for the playoffs," Cooper said. "Teams game plan, and they're willing to do whatever they have to do to win. Like I said, we'll just see."