Last week, my gut prevailed over my brain for once, as I thought the Seahawks might prevail over the Rams, but didn’t really have a good reason why (as opposed to the litany of reasons for why the Seahawks might lose). This week, that same gut reaction came to me: don’t be at all surprised if the Seahawks lose to the Browns this week.
I’ll come into this with the usual spiel: I believe the Seahawks SHOULD win this one. Of course, I said the same thing before the Saints game, and look at what happened.
Then, you come back to tell me that the Saints are actually a good football team, whereas the Browns are trash. I can’t argue with that. Not even a little bit. The 49ers made them look like a college team. The Browns handled a bad Jets team, and got one over on division rival Baltimore (who itself might not be as good as they looked earlier this season); they also got smashed by Tennessee and the Rams. The offense is a mess, the O-Line stinks, and Baker Mayfield is running for his life (and not handling it very well).
Suffice it to say, I don’t have a GREAT argument here, other than I’ve watched a lot of Seahawks football in my life, and I know when I’m being suckered.
The Seahawks have had 10 days off; the Browns just played on Monday Night and had to fly all the way back from San Francisco. The Seahawks have the best player in the game in Russell Wilson; the Browns have nothing but hype. The line originally had the Browns favored by a few points, but that’s swung completely in Seattle’s direction. The Browns are reeling – and are probably being led by a head coach who isn’t too terribly long for his job – while the Seahawks are soaring, with visions of divisional championships dancing in their heads.
Look, it’s the perfect storm, is what I’m getting at. Yeah, the Seahawks have had a few extra days off, and they’ve certainly been spending those days reading all the press written about them. Meanwhile, the Browns are backed into a corner, desperate to claw their way back into the thick of things in the AFC. They just need an impressive win over an impressive opponent to get this monkey off of their backs.
Also, given how Seattle looks, I foresee a lot of matchup problems. First and foremost, what are we going to do with Myles Garrett? He quietly has 7 sacks on the season, but he might be the most impressive defensive end in the league today; he’s certainly on par with the kind of trouble Aaron Donald poses. The over/under is 2.5 sacks for Garrett in this one, and I’m betting on the over. I think he’ll make Ifedi look like Ifedi usually looks (terrible), and I also think he can make Duane Brown look his age (34 years, oof). I think this pass rush in general is going to completely annihilate us from the moment we step out onto that field and put us into a huge hole.
Now, you can run on the Browns, but if we have the kind of trouble blocking Garrett like I’m betting on, then holding penalties and false starts are sure to be sprinkled in liberally. Being behind the sticks constantly is going to take us out of the run game and force us into a lot of 2nd & Longs and 3rd & Longs. That, unfortunately, puts us right where the Browns want us. The Browns are in the Top 10 in sacks, as well as the Top 10 in fewest passing yards allowed per game. Now, maybe that’s a product of them constantly being down in ballgames, and other teams rushing accordingly. But, they’re also getting healthy in their secondary for the first time in a while, which further fuels my Debbie Downer fire.
Safe Prediction Alert: I think Russell Wilson throws at least one pick in this game.
On the flipside, with the way the Seahawks’ defense has played this year, I think the Browns will be able to move the ball at will. Nick Chubb is one of the best running backs in football. Odell Beckham Jr. is as unstoppable as it gets. Jarvis Landry is a target machine. I predict all three of these guys will have huge numbers. Pencil in 100 yards and a TD for ODB, 120 yards and a TD for Chubb, and maybe another 90 yards and a TD for Landry. Our only hope is to get to the quarterback, but the book is out on us: get rid of the ball quickly and enjoy the spoils of the Seahawks missing a billion tackles.
Also, I’m further calling it right now: we’re in the midst of Bobby Wagner’s long decline into mediocrity. I think last year was his peak, I think he’s lost about half a step, and I think it’s only downhill from here. Gone are the days where he can will this defense to respectability on his own. He needs help. And I don’t think the Seahawks have the horses to pull this wagon.
The smart money’s on the Seahawks this weekend, but I’m not a smart man. This one’s going to look like all the other stupid Seahawks losses. With the score somewhere in the realm of 29-21.