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Seahawks vs. Browns Week 8 preview: Throwback edition

The Seattle Seahawks are back at Lumen Field for the second week in a row and will debut their highly anticipated throwback uniforms.  Will that help bring them a victory against a very solid, but suddenly very injured Cleveland Browns team?

Seahawks v Browns X

It’s January 6, 2002, and the Seattle Seahawks are putting the finishing touches on a 21-18 victory over their AFC West rivals, the Kansas City Chiefs. Seattle is still in the AFC and are playing at Husky Stadium since their new home is scheduled to open for the 2002 season to coincide with a move to the NFC West. It was also the last time they wore their “retro” jerseys with the lighter color scheme, silver pants/helmet, and original Seahawks logo.

After nearly 22 years, those MF’ers are back!!

And they’re glorious!

Seattle will be breaking out these beauties against the Cleveland Browns in a matchup of 4-2 teams. The Browns are off to a good start despite starting QB Deshaun Watson missing time with injuries, including leaving their 39-38 win over the Indianapolis Colts in Week 7. Watson has already been ruled out for the game against the Seahawks, so former 2020 XFL superstar PJ Walker will get the start. He took over for Watson in the game against Indianapolis and led the Browns to another win just one week removed from upsetting the previously unbeaten San Francisco 49ers.

Well, maybe it’s more accurate to say that the Browns won those two games in spite of Walker’s performance considering his stat line of 33/66 for 370 yards, 0 TD, 3 INT. Cleveland’s defense is very, very good ranking 1st in pass yards allowed per game and 7th in rushing yards allowed per game. They’re also the 10th ranked defense in terms of points allowed at 19.2 points per game. That defense is led by Myles Garrett who has 7.5 sacks and 2 FF in six games and is coming off a stat-stuffing performance against the Colts with 2.0 sacks, 1 FF, and 1 blocked FG. He’s an absolute menace and will cause problems for anyone he lines up against.

Cleveland is also very good at running the football even though they lost Pro Bowl RB Nick Chubb in the second game of the season. Jerome Ford and Kareem Hunt have picked up the majority of the carries to help the Browns to the 3rd ranked rushing offense at 147 yards per game. Hold that thought though, because Ford is injured and will miss this game as well, leaving Hunt to get a heavy workload.

And the Browns might need their run game to go off because they’ve been one of the NFL’s worst passing teams regardless of who is slinging the rock ranking second-to-last in the NFL with 171 passing yards per game. Cleveland only has 4 TD passes in six games, with 2 of them going to now-injured RB Jerome Ford. If Seattle can shut down the Browns running game – which isn’t out of the question considering the Seahawks rushing defense is ranked 6th in rushing yards per game against – things could get ugly.

Spoon might actually incapacitate a Browns player.

The Seahawks have won more than 2/3 of the time against Cleveland with a 13-6 all-time record and will be gunning for their third consecutive win against the Browns. Their last loss in the series was the riveting 6-3 Charlie Whitehurst game in 2011 where the only memorable moment was when a young Kam Chancellor introduced himself to Montario Hardesty by lifting him off his feet and planting him in the dirt. Seattle started the week as a slim favorite on Draftkings Sportsbook and the line has widened a bit more as news of Cleveland’s injuries were made public.

Seattle won 20-10 against the Arizona Cardinals while playing hot potato on offense with the ball. After going -3 for the day in turnovers, the Seahawks are middle of the pack with a +1 turnover differential for the season. The Browns are near the bottom of the NFL at -6, so this should be an area that the Seahawks can attack. Weirdly enough, though, Seattle is yet to force a turnover at Lumen Field.

Any extra possessions for the offense via turnover would be a boon. Seattle is still averaging 24.0 points per game, but the offense has felt out of sync for the last three games. The red zone in particular has been a nightmare. Seattle, frankly, has to figure that part of the game out to get where they want to be.

Maybe #MoreBobo is part of that?

With DK Metcalf ailing, Geno Smith turned to a pair of rookie WRs in Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Jake Bobo. Just like everyone thought he would. Seattle will need all hands on deck against the Browns defense who forced 4 turnovers against the Colts.

The biggest development (literally) this season has been the meteoric rise of the defense. They’re flying around the field, laying out dudes, and wreaking havoc on opposing offenses. This defensive surge has coincided with Devon Witherspoon’s introduction into the defense. Remember that he missed nearly all of training camp – including all three preseason games – and didn’t debut until Week 2. In the 5 games since, he’s been an absolute game wrecker from the secondary racking up sacks, INTs, PBUs, and big hits. Whether they’ve been erased by bogus penalties or not, Witherspoon is all over the field and makes his presence known. It’s not hyperbole to say that he is already one of the best players on this defense and is just scratching the surface of his potential.

If Seattle can force the Browns to lean on the pass game and be one-dimensional as they’ve done to opponents for much of the season, they have the weapons to harass an inexperienced QB like PJ Walker similar to what they did to Joshua Dobbs in last week’s game against the Cardinals. I don’t know about you, but I’d love to see a throwback defensive performance to go along with the retro jerseys – and that would lend itself well to a Seahawks victory in those wonderful threads that haven’t been worn in Seattle for over two decades.