CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns will begin the 2024 NFL Playoffs against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium this afternoon in Houston.
It is a part of Wildcard Saturday, one of two games today.
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The two teams met on Christmas Eve in Houston where the Browns won, 36-22. Amari Cooper set a franchise record with 265 yards receiving while Joe Flacco passed for 368 yards and three touchdowns.
Both players did not play in Week 18′s game at Cincinnati as the Browns rested most of their regulars after clinching a playoff berth against the New York Jets back in Week 17.
The Texans played without their starting quarterback, C.J. Stroud on Dec. 24. He will play today against the Browns. Houston won their last two games of the season to get into the playoffs and clinched the AFC South after Jacksonville lost at Tennessee in Week 18.
Cleveland has been dealing with several injuries.
Cornerback Denzel Ward is questionable after suffering a knee injury in Thursday’s practice.
“Something with his knee, he was limited,” Stefanski said. “I don’t really have an update past that.”
The other players listed as questionable are DB Mike Ford (calf), RB Pierre Strong (back), and safety Juan Thornhill (calf), according to the team’s injury report.
The Browns will also be out some key players.
Kicker Dustin Hopkins and safety Grant Delpit will not play. Hopkins hurt his hamstring against the Texans covering a kickoff.
Delpit was designated to return from the injured reserve on Jan. 10 and returned to practice this week. However, the team did not activate him.
“Just coming along, all part of the rehab process,” Stefanski said of Delpit. “Part of that process is getting out there on the practice field and getting through individual and team periods. But he’s trending in the right direction and progressing really well.”
Riley Patterson was the Browns’ kicker in the last two games of the season and will be relied on in place of Hopkins today.
Cleveland will also be without wide receiver Cedric Tillman. He suffered a concussion in Week 18′s loss at Cincinnati and Stefanski said Tillman is still progressing through the concussion protocol.
The kickoff between the Browns and Texans is at 4:30 p.m.
The winner advances to the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs next weekend.
The game will be broadcast on 1290 and 95-7, WHIO Radio.
Kansas City will host Miami tonight at 8 p.m.
These NFL Wildcard games will be on Sunday:
- Green Bay at Dallas- 4:30 p.m.
- L.A. Rams at Detroit- 8 p.m.
There will be two games on Monday:
- Pittsburgh at Buffalo- 4:30 p.m. (Channel 7)
- Philadelphia at Tampa Bay- 8:15 p.m.
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