Matchup to Watch: Browns secondary vs. explosive Dolphins WR DeVante Parker

The first round pick (14th overall) of the Miami Dolphins in 2015, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Parker has failed to live up to expectations for the majority of his NFL career. In his first four years in the NFL, Parker never reached 60 catches, 750 yards or five touchdowns in a single season. That all looks like it will change in 2019, as Parker is showing signs of being the true No. 1 receiver that the Dolphins drafted him to be.

Through 10 games this year, Parker already has 40 receptions for 604 yards and four touchdowns. He is currently on a pace for 64 catches, 966 yards and six to seven touchdowns. That doesn’t even tell the true story of his recent breakout, however. Ever since quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was re-inserted in the starting lineup against the Washington Redskins, Parker has been on the best tear of his career.

With a little dusting of FitzMagic, Parker’s last six games have seen him total 30 catches for 403 yards and three touchdowns. If you extrapolate that over 16 games, Parker’s pace would be 80 receptions for 1,074 yards and eight touchdowns.

Check out photos of the Browns preparing for their game against the Dolphins Sunday by team photographer Matt Starkey

After eclipsing 50 yards receiving in one game in all of the 2018 season, Parker has now topped the half-century mark in five straight games and seven of his last eight. He enters the matchup with the Browns on Sunday coming off a career-high 135 yards receiving on seven receptions against an excellent Buffalo Bills secondary. 

For all of the missed games due to injuries and other factors on the Browns defense, the one area where the team is fully healthy headed into Week 12 is the cornerback room. All four of the Browns top CBs will be available Sunday with starters Denzel Ward (LCB) and Greedy Williams (RCB) ready to go, along with top reserves T.J. Carrie (SCB) and Terrence Mitchell.

Since the Browns bye week, no receiver has reached 80 yards against this secondary and only two, Julian Edelman (twice) and Courtland Sutton, have found the end zone. For the season, no receiver has even produced 80 yards against the Browns since Week 3, and only Cooper Kupp (101) and Brandin Cooks (112) have topped the 100-yard mark against this defense all year. It should be noted that both Ward and Williams did not play in that Week 3 contest against the Rams and with that duo on the field together, no receiver has exceeded 100 yards against the Browns in 2019. 

In other words, the Browns have done an excellent job containing receivers in this pass-happy NFL, especially outside receivers like Parker. That will be a key Sunday, as the Dolphins will not have another player active against the Browns with 300 yards or two touchdowns receiving total in the 2019 season. 

Parker is a one-man band, and the Browns secondary needs to have him singing the blues Sunday.

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