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Browns come to Houston loaded with talent

Baker Mayfield is on a roll. John Grieshop/Getty Images

The Texans are the owners of the NFL's longest win streak and the Browns pose a legitimate threat to end it. What a weird sentence to say one year ago. 

1. The Texans have their hands full with the hottest rushing attack in football. Nick Chubb has the second most yards rushing the past four weeks and he's only played three games in that time. He has five total touchdowns. He's a monster. He's 15th in the league in rushing despite 16 total carries in his first 6 games. It's incredible the flashes he's shown early. Baker Mayfield knows what he brings to the table. 

"You talk about the run game being able to open up our throwing lanes and play action," Mayfield said. "He's been a huge help to that because teams have to swarm to the ball when he has it. He's not going to go down by just one guy tackling him. He's gonna break tackles. He's gonna have extra yardage after that first contact."

If they're going to slow down Chubb it will be incumbent on Zach Cunningham and Benardrick McKinney and linebacker and Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt not overplaying some of the rushing downs. 

2. Baker Mayfield has been remarkably efficient in the Browns past two wins. He completed 85 percent and 73.1 percent of his passes and has thrown seven touchdowns. With the rushing attack, Mayfield hasn't had to put up big yardage numbers. He hasn't thrown an interception since trying to lead a huge comeback against the Chiefs. Efficient quarterbacks can hurt the Texans a lot so there is some concern Mayfield could get going and never look back. 

3. The Browns haven't allowed a sack in 125 snaps which is the longest current streak in the NFL. The Texans are sixth in sacks with 34 as a team. J.J. Watt has got hot and stayed hot with at least a sack in four straight games. Jadeveon Clowney has gotten to the quarterback in three straight. With Whitney Mercilus and Christian Covington getting going against the Titans the Browns sack streak should come to an end on Sunday.

4. The Steelers and the Chargers are the Sunday Night Football game. This means J.J. Watt's brothers Derek Watt, a Chargers fullback, and T.J. Watt, a Steelers linebacker, will face off. It will be the first time in Watt family history Derek has played against a brother. They, of course, can make contact with each other playing on opposite sides of the ball. 

"I haven't figured out yet what I'm cheering for or supposed to be looking for," J.J. Watt said. "Now they're on both sides. They're going against each other. I hope T.J. gets a couple sacks. I hope Derek gets a touchdown or a carry has some great blocks. I hope the game, I dunno, ends in a tie, I guess that's the best thing for everybody. It's probably good for us too."

He said he would be "talking a lot of (trash)" in the group text with his brothers. Watt isn't wrong about rooting for a tie either. A tie is as good as a loss for catching the Steelers in the AFC, but it doesn't help a ton in pushing the Chargers down the AFC standings. 

5. The Cowboys pulled off one of the most impressive wins of the season last night against the Saints. Their defense was on fire led by stud linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch. Professional football in Texas is LOADED at linebacker with the Cowboys crew and the Texans having Benardrick McKinney, Zach Cunningham, and Dylan Cole (hopefully fully healthy soon). Dallas slowed the Saints offense as nobody else has come close to doing this season. Nothing seemed to work for New Orleans and the Dallas offense did just enough. If they ever started clicking on offense they'd be a viable Super Bowl contender in the NFC. 

6. Patrick Mahomes can retake the lead as potential NFL MVP on Sunday. Mahomes was the darling early but Drew Brees caught up as the Saints got hot. With their cooling off last night, it is a huge opportunity for Mahomes to earn back some favor with the voters. He just so happens to be facing the lowly Raiders in Oakland. Kansas City is at least a 14 point favorite or more. With Oakland struggling, and the Chiefs coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Rams, it seems like a terrible matchup for the Raiders and a good chance for "Showtime" to show his MVP stuff.

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Houston dropped two of three

Astros drop series finale to Oakland, A's win series

Jose Urquidy couldn't hold Oakland back on Saturday. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

With Oakland finally ending their drought against the Astros on Friday night to split the first two games of the series, and with the Angels staying in step with them as both teams started the day 6-2, the Astros needed a win to keep momentum in their favor on Saturday.

Instead, Oakland would outslug Houston once again to take the series finale and take the series win. The loss moves Houston to 6-3 and down to second place, at least for now, until the 6-2 Angels complete their game on Saturday evening.

Final Score: A's 7, Astros 3

Astros' Record: 6-3, second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Frankie Montas (1-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (0-1)

Urquidy gives up four over six

Much like the night before, Oakland was able to bring in runs against Houston's starter, this time Jose Urquidy, Saturday afternoon in their second time through the order. Their first time through, Urquidy was cruising, allowing just one baserunner in the first three innings on a single in the top of the third.

Things shifted in the top of the fourth, with the A's getting back-to-back singles to set the stage for a two-run frame with dual RBI-singles to take a 2-0 lead. Oakland doubled that in the fifth, getting a two-out single to set up a two-run homer by Ramon Laureano to make it 4-0. Urquidy would go on to finish six innings, but with no run support to that point, would leave in line for the loss. His final line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 93 P.

A's pad their lead before Houston gets on the board

Meanwhile, although getting five hits, the Astros could not get anything on the board against Frankie Montas through six innings. Brandon Bielak took over out of the bullpen for Urquidy in the top of the seventh, but after loading the bases, he would allow a dagger two-RBI single to make it a 6-0 deficit for Houston.

With Montas starting the seventh looking to face a batter or two before Oakland moved to their bullpen, Kyle Tucker would finally get Houston on the board with a leadoff solo home run, cutting the lead to 6-1 and ending Montas' day. Houston would get a two-out rally going, with an RBI-double by Jose Altuve followed by an RBI-triple by Michael Brantley to make it a three-run game at 6-3.

Oakland takes the series win

Ryne Stanek tried to keep it a three-run game and give the Astros a chance to stay in it in the top of the eighth but instead would give up a two-out solo home run to push Oakland's lead back to four. That 7-3 score would go final as Houston would go scoreless in the eighth and ninth.

Up Next: Houston will have a day off on Sunday before continuing this homestand Monday night by welcoming in Detroit and former manager A.J. Hinch for three games. In the series opener, the Tigers will send young star Casey Mize (0-0, 2.25 ERA) to the mound, while the Astros will get another start by Zack Greinke (1-0, 1.38 ERA).

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