Cleveland Browns vs. Seattle Seahawks Preview & Prediction
The Browns won in the final seconds of last week’s game against the Colts, albeit in a controversial fashion. Two questionable penalties against the Colts in the final 40 seconds ultimately paved the way for Kareem Hunt to punch in the final touchdown for the win.
Deshaun Watson went out early in last week’s game, and PJ Walker is now slated to start this week while Watson focuses on rehabbing his shoulder. Cleveland ranks 32nd in pass offense DVOA and EPA. Expect Walker to continue to hand the ball off to his running backs, who carry nearly 50% of the offensive workload for this team (7th).
The Cleveland defense has been lights out this year, leading the league in opponent yards per game (243) and several other defensive categories. This unit as a whole is ranked first in defensive DVOA and EPA. The pass defense is tops in the league in completion percentage (53.85%), opponent pass yards per game (149.2), and sack rate (10.86%).
Seattle ran away with a win versus Arizona last week, where its young stars fueled the offense. Kenneth Walker had a season-high 105 rushing yards, while rookie receivers Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Jake Bobo recorded their first career touchdowns. DK Metcalf was out with a hip injury, but last week showed that these two can answer the call when needed. This week will be a much bigger test as they’ll face one of the league’s most dangerous secondaries, but they’ll be two to monitor in the back half of the season.
The most surprising part of this year’s Seahawks team has been the re-emergence of a sound defense. The secondary is among the most talented groups in the league, between veterans Quandre Diggs and Jamal Adams and young guns Tariq Woolen and Devon Witherspoon. Up front, they are holding opposing teams to 87.2 rushing yards per game (6th) and 3.5 yards per attempt (2nd). This week, they face a dynamic run game between Kareem Hunt and Pierre Strong Jr., which will be a good test.
There are a lot of great matchups in this game, and I expect it to be a close one. That said, Geno Smith’s offense is more talented than PJ Walker’s. The Browns are 0-2 ATS on the road this year, and I’m betting they make it 0-3 this week. The defense will keep it close here, but Seattle comes out on top at home.
Browns vs. Seahawks Prediction: Seahawks -3.5
Browns vs. Seahawks Best Betting Odds
The Seahawks enter as 3 to 3.5-point favorites in this matchup against the Browns. The over/under is 39.5 points, one of the lowest totals in Week 8 matchups. This means oddsmakers predict the Seahawks to win by a score of 21-18 or thereabouts.
Browns vs. Seahawks Key Injuries
This biggest difference-maker here will be the absence of Deshaun Watson, though PJ Walker has filled his shoes nicely. Jerome Ford will also be out this week because of an ankle injury.
In Seattle, DK Metcalf is listed as questionable for this week after missing last week with a hip injury. Guard Phil Haynes and center Evan Brown also sat out last week and are listed as questionable.
Browns vs. Seahawks Key Matchups
See below the key matchups and mismatches for the Browns vs. Seahawks game.
Seattle Secondary vs. Cleveland Pass Offense
In its last three games, this Seattle secondary has averaged 142 yards against them per game (1st); this is largely due to the emergence of rookie corner Devon Witherspoon. Through his first five games, he has a 97-yard pick-six, two sacks and eight passes defended. He has a great supporting cast around him in Tariq Woolen, Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs. Week-over-week, this pass defense’s success rate went from 30th in the league to 20th.
Conversely, Cleveland is ranked last in the league in passing yards per game over the last three games (137.7) and has zero passing touchdowns over that same period. They have just four passing touchdowns in the entire year. They’ll likely continue trying to keep the ball on the ground like they have been, but Seattle’s front seven is strong and will do what they can to make Walker throw.
Cleveland Pass Rush vs. Seattle Offensive Line
The Browns’ pass-rushing unit is one of the most effective in the league – they rank first in knockdowns per pass attempt (15.4%), fifth in quarterback pressures per dropback (28%) and ninth in blitzes per dropback (31.3%).
This week, they face a mediocre offensive line in Seattle that hasn’t clicked yet. The group is forfeiting the third-highest QB pressure rate (29.5%) and the second-most QB hurries (32). This is largely due to the absence of OT Abraham Lucas, who has been out since the season opener, and the revolving door of other injuries between Charles Cross, Phil Haynes and Evan Brown. This Cleveland pass rush and defensive line will be a big test for this group.