Jan 9, 2024 - Sports

Browns vs. Texans: AFC wild card playoff preview

Joe Flacco drops back for a pass for the Cleveland Browns.

Let's go, Flacco! Photo: Cooper Neill/Getty Images

​​Saturday's playoff game between the Browns and Houston Texans is a rematch from earlier this season — but under different circumstances.

Why it matters: The Browns have never been to a Super Bowl, but quarterback Joe Flacco and a stellar defense have fans thinking this year might be different.

Flashback: Houston and Cleveland squared off on Christmas Eve, with the Browns winning 36-24.

Yes, but: The Texans were without starting quarterback and NFL Rookie of the Year favorite C.J. Stroud, who will play Saturday.

Meanwhile, Flacco came off the couch in December to be the Browns' fourth starting quarterback this season.

  • The 38-year-old won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens in 2012 and is 10-5 in the playoffs during his career, including 5-0 in the wild card round.

The intrigue: The matchup features two teams involved in one of the biggest trades in NFL history.

  • In March 2022, the Browns swapped a haul of draft picks to Houston for quarterback Deshaun Watson, whose season ended with a shoulder injury in November.
  • In March 2022, the Browns traded a haul of draft picks to Houston for quarterback Deshaun Watson, whose season ended with a shoulder injury this past November.

Between the lines: A dispute between broadcast company Tegna and DirectTV will cause Saturday's 4:30pm game to be blacked out on local NBC affiliate WKYC, barring a last-minute agreement.

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