Browns/Seahawks: 4 Keys To Victory Week 8

October 26, 2023

Andy Billman Tony Camino

Cleveland Browns vs. Seattle Seahawks Matchups to Watch:

1 – PJ Walker vs. Geno Smith 

Andy – 

This should be an even matchup, as Geno Smith is not having as good of a season as last year, and PJ Walker has yet to receive a lot of preparation in practice time with two victories. It’s hard to tell what the Browns have with Walker, but it is more stable than starting Deshaun Watson.

Walker’s main job is managing the game, moving the team down the field, and, when needed, taking field position over risky offensive selections.  No turnovers and allow the running game, defense, and special teams to drive the Browns.  When Walker has to throw, I’m hopeful we will see Amari Cooper on the receiving end.

This is a draw of a match-up unless Walker gets himself into trouble with turnovers.  Walker might have to throw more on Sunday, with the Seahawks having a formidable defense against the run. 

Tony – 

Geno Smith was a new quarterback last season, looking like the high draft pick he was taken as in 2013. He’s a much-improved version of himself, throwing under pressure into tight windows better than he ever has. Smith currently ranks 2nd in completion percentage over expected in the NFL, just behind Josh Allen. The Seahawks rank eighth in the NFL in offensive EPA per play, largely due to the passing attack led by Smith. With a trio of talented receivers in DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Jaxson Smith-Njigba, the Seahawks have the edge in the air.

PJ Walker has found a way to win both games he’s played in, both of which needed big fourth-quarter scoring drives to secure victory. It wasn’t pretty, but Walker made enough throws at the end of the game to set the Browns up for the go-ahead touchdown with under a minute to play. The passing game has to be more efficient, but taking care of the ball is the first priority.

2 – Browns DL vs. Seahawks OL

Tony – 

As usual, the Browns’ defensive line is an advantage they must exploit if they want to win. The Seahawks allow the second-highest pressure rate in football, while the Browns have the second-best pressure rate. Their rookie center, Olusegun Oluwatimi, has been solid in pass blocking this year, but there isn’t a single lineman who should be able to slow the Browns down.

Myles Garrett is fresh off a historic performance, but he has plenty of help to get the job done on Sunday. Za’Darius Smith ranks 13th among qualified players in pass rush win rate, and the interior linemen have shown themselves capable in the run game. The defensive line always seems to be an advantage, and the Browns need to dominate up front to win on Sunday.

Andy – 

As Tony mentioned, this should be a massive advantage for the Browns’ defensive line.  The Seahawks have struggled and had to shuffle the offensive line often.   Look for Myles Garrett to keep rolling with pressure on Geno Smith, and Seattle is not having a significant year on the rushing side of the ball, so if they can control Kenneth Walker III, the Browns will win this matchup and, more than likely, the game.  

3 – Browns OL vs. Seahawks DL

Andy – 

This is the match-up that worries the most in this game.  I can see the Browns having a hard time with the Seahawks defensive line, especially playing on the road in a loud stadium.  Look for the Browns to try and keep 2nd and 3rd down in manageable yards.  The Seattle front is good against the run, and they also are in the top five in the league in sacks.  The Browns just have to split this match-up, and they will have to bring a tight end to help block like Harrison Bryant and the running back in the backup to help on passing situations. 

Tony – 

The Seahawks have the fourth-worst pressure rate in the league, while the Browns allow the 19th-highest pressure rate. On paper, the Browns have this advantage upfront as well, but they have been very inconsistent this year. Seattle’s defensive line ranks as one of the best in yards before contact defensively, allowing just 1.13 yards before contact on defense.

Establishing the run could be a challenge against the Seahawks, who allow just 87.2 rushing yards per game. They have the lowest rushing success rate against, and the Browns will need to protect the quarterback to achieve consistent offense. Without Jerome Ford, it’s tough to imagine the Browns’ run game dominating, but the pass protection is in a good spot for Sunday.

4 – Kevin Stefanski vs. Pete Carroll 

Tony – 

The Browns are 4-2 this year, despite having Nick Chubb for just over a game, Jack Conklin lost for the season early, Deshaun Watson missing three games, and playing the entire division along with the 49ers. That, in itself, is unbelievable, and a lot of credit goes to the coaching staff, including Stefanski. The play calling in the last two games has played to what his players can do, and he’s getting guys open. The players need to execute, and Stefanski needs to continue to find success.

Pete Carroll has been in Seattle for a while now, and they were a better team last year than many expected. They are off to a solid 4-2 start this year, including an impressive overtime win against the Lions. Carroll will execute his game plan that gives his players a chance to win, but in no world will he run circles around Stefanski.

Andy – 

The Browns’ offensive line against Seattle’s defensive line and Kevin Stefanski going up against Pete Carroll worry me the most in this game.  Stefanski is having a better season compared to 2022, and the team is coming into this game winning two in a row.  That said, history has shown that Stefanski, in matchups like this, going against a legendary coach usually ends with a loss.

Stefanksi must find ways to get success with the running game while maintaining field position like he did last week in Indianapolis. 

This match-up does favor Carroll; hopefully, Stefanski can manipulate field position to play into the defensive strength for Cleveland. 

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