The Texans have a revamped defensive line, but honestly, there is a talent gap. The loss of starting defensive tackle Vincent Taylor will be mitigated slightly by the resigning of Jaleel Johnson, however, apart from hoping that 3/5 Browns' starters remain injured, the Texans also need to do more than just rely on their front four, versus the Browns front five.
Especially early in the game, the Texans should be stacking the box with seven or eight defenders and forcing Baker Mayfield to prove he can beat us with his arm. Furthermore, we'll have to play with heavier personnel (3 LBs instead of 2) to match the Browns tendency to utilize 22 personnel (2 RBs, 2 TEs), 12 personnel (1 RBs, 2 TEs) and 13 personnel (1 RB, 3 TEs).
We can look to the Chiefs' recipe for success last week. The Browns still totalled 26 carries for 153 yards at 5.9 YPC, but the Chiefs were able to minimize gains on the ground when they did four things - stack the box, play three LBs, be disciplined in their run fits and get off blocks.
Look at this play where the Browns are in their 13 personnel, with three TEs - Harrison Bryant (88), Austin Hooper (81) and David Njoku (85). They are running power to the left, with right guard Wyatt Teller (77) pulling. The Chiefs counter this action by playing a 4-3 base defense - 4 defensive linemen with 3 linebackers - and also bring their deep safeties closer to the ball. The Chiefs don't have a dominant defensive line (minus Chris Jones) just like the Texans, so their best shot at stopping the run was beating the Browns' secondary blockers, their tight ends. Watch LB Nick Bolton (54) beat TE Harrison Bryant (88) to the outside, stack and shed the block for the tackle.