The Cleveland Browns will turn again to P.J. Walker at quarterback on Sunday (4:05 p.m. ET) against the Seattle Seahawks.
With Deshaun Watson still out because of a strained rotator cuff, Cleveland has gone from 1.5- to 4-point underdogs (-115) on the road, in addition to +168 on the moneyline. Meanwhile, Seattle is -4 (-105) on the NFL betting line and -193 to win outright. The total has dropped to 38 (-110 Over, -110 Under), third lowest on the board for Week 8.
Will Seattle take care of business? Let’s break down this NFL matchup and assess the Browns vs Seahawks betting line.
Location: Lumen Field; Seattle
The Cleveland Browns are 3-3 against the spread, including just 1-4 in their last five games on the road. The total has gone Under in nine of the Browns’ last 13 games dating to last year. Meanwhile, the Seattle Seahawks are 4-2 ATS, including 4-1 over their last five games. The total has gone Under in eight of the Seahawks’ last 11 games. That’s important to remember when assessing the Browns vs Seahawks betting line.
Watson Remains Sidelined
When will Deshaun Watson play? How much longer will his shoulder injury linger? That’s the uncertainty facing the Cleveland Browns, who are planning to be without their Pro Bowl quarterback another week per NFL updates. That means another start for veteran P.J. Walker, who led Cleveland to a 39-38 victory over the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday as a 3.5-point favorite.
Walker completed 15 of 32 passes for 178 yards and an interception. While he’s yet to throw a touchdown in his first two appearances this season, Cleveland is 2-0 when he’s played. The Browns are now 4-2, tied for second in the AFC North NFL standings.
Oddsmakers are bullish on the Browns, pricing them +250 to win the division and -200 to make the NFL playoffs. And that’s without much clarity on Watson, who re-injured his rotator cuff against Indianapolis. Watson initially missed two games after suffering the injury in Week 3 against the Tennessee Titans. He started last week versus the Colts but left in the first quarter after taking a hit from Indianapolis defensive end Dayo Odeyingbo.
Watson has completed 61.7% of his passes this season for 683 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions. He’s also run for a score. The Browns are averaging a modest 22.3 points despite also having lost star running back Nick Chubb (knee).
Cleveland’s been largely fueled by its defense, which has allowed the fewest yards in the NFL (243 per game) and the 10th fewest points on average (19.2 per game). Myles Garrett, who’s recorded a team-high 7.5 sacks, is a +200 co-favorite with Dallas’ Micah Parsons for NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
Seahawks Overcoming Injuries
The Seattle Seahawks are 4-2 after beating the Arizona Cardinals last week. A 9-point favorite, Seattle also covered the spread for the fifth time in five weeks.
Seattle is still just +500 to win the NFC West — a product of sharing a division with the San Francisco 49ers — but is -175 to make the playoffs. Although NFL injuries have started to creep up, the Seahawks are in relatively decent shape moving forward as they look to return to the postseason.
Geno Smith has played well this season, with a 68.6% completion rate, seven touchdowns and only four interceptions. Although leading rusher Kenneth Walker remains in doubt because of a calf injury, the Seahawks are slated to get back wide receiver DJ Metcalf, who missed the first game of his NFL career last week with hip and rib injuries. If Tyler Lockett (hamstring) can’t go, Metcalf will likely receive the lion’s share of targets.
Seattle’s offense has been average, ranking 15th in the NFL in yards per game (330.2). While it hasn’t scored more than 24 points since Sept. 23, it’s 4-1 over its last five games. Notably, the total has gone Under in four of Seattle’s six games this pro-football season, including five of the last six at home.
The Seahawks also could be without All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner, who missed practice Thursday because of an ankle injury. Be sure to monitor his status when analyzing the Browns vs Seahawks betting line.
Handicapping the Game
Cleveland’s done well to overcome adversity, but when is Watson’s injury going to catch up to the Browns? Having an elite defense certainly masks a lot of issues. But the Browns can’t expect that unit to carry the load too much longer. At some point, if Watson remains out, Walker will need to become more of a focal point in Cleveland’s game plan. That means making more plays on a consistent basis.
It just may not be this week. Seattle is shaping up as a deserving favorite at home now that it’s getting healthier.