Cleveland Browns vs. Seahawks: 5 matchups to decide outcome
3. Seahawks red zone offense vs. Browns red zone defense
Cleveland’s defense has backslid from allowing 315 yards per game over the first three weeks to 420 over the last two. Giving up yards doesn’t look as bad when you give up field goals or get key stops just outside of field goal range. But for the Browns, those things aren’t happening.
The Seahawks have the No. 1 ranked red zone offense in the NFL based on touchdown percentage at 76 percent. When they get scoring opportunities, they capitalize in a big way. It helps to have a quarterback playing as well as Russell Wilson has through five games. Wilson has 12 touchdown passes and zero interception on the season, with nine of the 12 touchdowns coming inside the red zone.
Statically, these red zone numbers do not favor the Browns. The league average for defensive touchdown percentage inside the red zone is just over 54 percent. The Browns are allowing touchdowns 69 percent of the time when inside the 20-yard line good for 30th in the NFL. Cleveland has allowed under 339 yards just once this season against the New York Jets, who are 30th or worse in every major offensive statistical category.
The home team is sure to yield some yardage to Wilson and the Seahawks. However, if they want to have a chance at winning this contest, I know it seems obvious, but they must force field goals. Teams are scoring touchdowns at an alarming pace when entering the red zone—if this doesn’t change quickly, the Browns could be in for another long and dreadful Sunday.