Cleveland Browns vs Seattle Seahawks: 2 match-ups to watch


Dec 13, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) throws during the second half against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Seattle Seahawks defeated Baltimore Ravens 35-6. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Taking a look at a few key match-ups in today’s game between the Cleveland Browns and the Seattle Seahawks.

The Cleveland Browns are coming off an impressive home win against the San Francisco 49ers. The Seattle Seahawks are one of hottest teams in football having won four straight. Seattle has been led by the outstanding quarterback play of Russell Wilson who has thrown 16 touchdown passes in the past four wins. Seattle is also inching closer to a playoff berth and a win over Cleveland would be greatly beneficial.

The Browns will have their toughest test of the season in a hostile environment. Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel has taken huge strides on the field in terms of his development but nothing will be more telling to how the Browns young signal caller reacts and responds Sunday in Seattle against one of the league’s best defenses.

Russell Wilson vs. Browns secondary

The Browns secondary was thought to be a strength of the team entering the season but with injuries to Joe Haden and other key players if has quickly turned into a liability. Russell Wilson is playing at an extremely high level and has been leading the offensive charge. As if Wilson didn’t need any extra motivation, Browns head coach Mike Pettine said he didn’t consider Wilson a top-tier quarterback but is certainly playing himself into the next tier. Wilson will be hungry and fired up to show why he is elite and expose the Browns banged up secondary.

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Wilson is the key for the Seattle offense with running backs Marshawn Lynch still out with an injury and backup Thomas Rawls done for the season with an ankle injury. For the Browns to compete in the game they must limit the dual threat capability of Wilson. Wilson is deadly when he can operate in the pocket but also make plays with his legs scrambling outside the pocket. The Browns must contain Wilson and stop Seattle rushing attack whether they feature veteran Fred Jackson or Bryce Brown.

Johnny Manziel vs. the Legion of Boom 

Manziel made significant strides leading the Browns to victory last week. Manziel once again showed posted and progression working inside the pocket. He also looked comfortable being the commander of the offense and continued to work pass progressions and reads. Last Sunday’s win was a good stepping stone for Manziel to build on, but this week will be a true test on where Manziel is in his development.

On Friday, Manziel talked to Cleveland Browns beat writer Andrew Gribble and he wasn’t backing away from the tough challenge Seattle presents.

"You can’t shy away from it. We knew going into the beginning of the season this game was on our schedule and was going to be a late December game with them making a playoff push and right in the hunt. It’s going to be hostile and it’s going to be fun at the same time. They’ll come out, they’ll be rowdy. It’s our job to come out and try and silence them a little bit."

Manziel will be asked to manage and be the leader of the Browns offense while trying to complete the hard task of taking the Seattle home crowd out of the game. Manziel will need to limit mistakes and take care of the football if the Browns want any part of competing against a top defense.