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Burning Questions

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Burning Questions: Three Questions for the Browns ahead of Week 8 matchup vs. Seahawks

Cleveland will play its third road game of the season on Sunday

Burning Questions Week 8

QB P.J. Walker will make his second start this season as QB Deshaun Watson deals with a shoulder injury. The Browns will travel to Seattle to play the Seahawks, who have a 4-2 record this season. 

Here are three questions heading into Sunday's Week 8 matchup. 

Will the Browns play better on the road?

The Browns two away games this season have been disappointing. With the eye test, they look like a different team on the road versus at home. They won their first road game last week, but it wasn't pretty. 

On offense, they haven't played as clean as possible. In their two road games, the Browns have a total of six turnovers. 

On defense, they have given up big plays to receivers and have missed a number of tackles. 

In Week 2, Steelers WR George Pickens caught a 71-yard touchdown and ended the day with four catches for 127 yards. In Week 7, Colts WR Joshua Downs caught a 59-yard touchdown and finished the evening with five catches for 125 yards. In the same game, WR Michael Pittman Jr. caught a 75-yard touchdown.

Now, the Browns will have to travel to Seattle, where the Seahawks are known for having a tough home-field advantage. Their crowd is nicknamed the 12th Man.

"It's a great atmosphere in our league," HC Kevin Stefanski said. "It's a challenge dealing with that crowd noise and it's a good football team. It's a Pete Carroll football team so you know they're well coached, play with great energy."

What will the offensive game-plan be?

So far this season, it has been difficult to understand Brown's offensive game plan due to numerous injuries on that side of the ball. They were initially a run-first team until RB Nick Chubb was ruled out for the rest of the season due to a knee injury.

In Week 3, they switched to a pass-heavy strategy, which resulted in Watson having his best game. However, in Week 4, with Watson unavailable, Stefanski decided to stick to a pass-heavy approach with rookie QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson, but he struggled to connect with his catchers against the Ravens. Thompson-Robinson completed 19-of-36 passes for 121 and threw three interceptions. 

After the Bye week, they went to a more balanced attack in Weeks 6 and 7, with RB Jerome Ford and RB Kareem Hunt scoring a total of four touchdowns and rushing for 236 yards. However, Ford did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday of this week, and was a limited participant in Friday's practice as he is dealing with an ankle injury. The Browns also officially listed him as questionable for Sunday's game. 

OC Alex Van Pelt didn't get into specifics of the offensive game plan heading into Seattle, but he said that he likes how the offense responded in practice this week.

"Yesterday's practice was really sharp," Van Pelt said. "I was really impressed with P.J. (Walker) and the offense in general, how we performed yesterday. So that's an indication. We just keep getting better each week, each practice and just keep trending upward."

Where are the explosive plays from the receivers?

The Browns have played six games this season and only have one touchdown coming from a receiver. WR Amari Cooper caught the only touchdown amongst receivers for the Browns in Week 3 against the Titans.

They are the only team with one touchdown coming from their receiving core. On the season, they have two other receiving touchdowns from Ford and one from TE Harrison Bryant. The receivers also have only had two big plays down the field. Cooper caught a 58-yard pass against the 49ers and a 43-yard catch against the Titans. Those two catches were the only big, explosive receiving plays this season for the Browns.

Heading into Sunday, the receivers will be needed against a Seahawks secondary that has given up big plays to their opponents. The Seahawks secondary has allowed four receivers to have monstrous games. WR Tutu Atwell, WR Puka Nacua, WR Adam Thielen, and WR Amon-Ra St. Brown all had 100-plus yards receiving yards against the Seahawks.

The Browns rank 31st in the league for receiving yards and 30th for receiving touchdowns. They have a total of 11 receptions over 20 yards this season, which ranks 31st. Despite the statistics showing the unit is struggling, they believe they have made necessary plays to help the team achieve a 4-2 record.

"I believe the receivers have been making plays when our names have been called, playing great, complimentary football, special teams been playing great," Cooper. "So, when you can play together in all three phases, good things will happen."

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