Browns expect "bigger challenge" from Texans after missing C.J. Stroud in Week 16

The Browns and Texans faced each other in Week 16 of the regular season and Cleveland won 36-22, but there's only so much they can take from the Christmas Eve matchup as they prepare for Saturday's game.

Quarterback C.J. Stroud is the biggest reason for that. The Texans' rookie star missed the regular season game with a concussion, which linebacker Sione Takitaki believes made things much easier on the Cleveland defense than they will be this time around.

"His ability to run and pass is what is going to make a difference in preparing for the Texans," Takitaki said, via the team's website. "He's a rookie, but he proved he is special. He's a front-runner for offensive rookie of the year. You can learn from your mistakes since they didn't have Stroud the first time around. Having their guy will make it a bigger challenge for us."

The Texans were also without defensive end Will Anderson and linebacker Blake Cashman in that game, so there are significant differences on both sides of the ball as the two teams head into their elimination game in Houston.