The Browns are up against a tough challenge as they head to Seattle to face the Seahawks in Week 8. Both teams have shown improvement after their early Week 5 bye weeks.
Over the last two weeks, the Seahawks have made significant progress in their defense against opposing teams' receiving cores. They have managed to hold their opponents to under 200 yards, which is a significant improvement from the start of the season. In the first four games, they allowed over 300 yards in three of those matches.
The Seahawks secondary is led by veteran safety and three-time Pro Bowler Jamal Adams. They also have three-time Pro Bowler Quandre Diggs at free safety. However, at cornerback, the Seahawks have the youngest starting duo in the league, with rookie CB Devon Witherspoon and second-year CB Riq Woolen. Despite being young, both Witherspoon and Woolen have displayed a high level of talent.
Woolen led the NFL in interceptions with six during his rookie season in 2022, earning him a spot in the Pro Bowl. Following in his footsteps is Witherspoon, who Pro Football Focus rates as the best cornerback in the NFL at 88.5.
"I think he's a good player," WR Amari Cooper on Witherspoon. "Making a lot of plays, making his name known. So, yeah, it's going to be a nice competition going out there."
The Browns receiving core has faced some formidable overall defenses this season. They have gone up against the 49ers and Ravens, both of which presented good competition, but their strengths were in the front seven. On the other hand, the Seahawks secondary is the strength of their defense.
In order for the Browns to have success in the passing game, it starts with their leading receiver in Cooper. He cracked over 100 yards receiving two times and had 90 yards receiving in one game this season. However, he has had two other games in which it was hard to notice him on the field. Cooper caught one pass for 16 yards in Week 4 against the Ravens. He caught two passes for 22 yards and did not get his first target until the second half against the Colts in Week 7.
"Let's see if we can get Amari a ball," OC Alex Van Pelt said. "Those are our leaders. So when those guys touch the ball, good things generally happen. But it's definitely something that's on the back of the coach's mind when you look at this challenge."
They also have other solid options in their receiving core. WR Elijah Moore had an impressive game against the Colts. Moore made a critical 30-yard reception in the fourth quarter on third and 10, which jump started the Browns final drive. This season Moore has caught 25 passes for 226 yards.
The Browns have been trying to utilize WR Marquise Goodwin's speed to go deep for a big play, but they have been unsuccessful in all of their attempts so far. Goodwin has only caught three passes for 38 yards this season, despite being targeted nine times. It is key for the Browns to finally connect with Goodwin on the deep ball.
The Browns have to be creative and use their speed guys more than they have in the past games to create down-the-field throws and help score touchdowns. The Seahawks, despite improvement the last two weeks, still gave up big days to struggling receiving cores. WR Jamarr Chase averaged 13.3 yards per catch and WR Tee Higgins averaged 10 yards per catch when the Bengals played the Seahawks in Week 6. In Week 7, WR Marquise Brown averaged 16.3 yards per catch against the Seahawks in Week 7.
"Come Sunday, we have to execute the calls that coach makes," Goodwin said. "We understand the challenge of going against a secondary with multiple Pro Bowlers."