The Seattle Seahawks are, in a word, dangerous. Quarterback Russell Wilson is playing at an MVP level, and the defense is often overlooked. In a thrilling 30-29 victory against the Los Angeles Rams, Seattle showcased just how good they can be.
A big piece of the offensive success in week 5 was wide receiver DK Metcalf. Metcalf, a rookie known for his big-play ability, had two catches for 44 yards and a score. He’ll continue to be a big part of the aerial attack in week 6.
The Cleveland Browns as a whole have been disappointing, but their defense has been particularly bad. They’re coming off of a 31-3 smackdown at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers, where the run defense was particularly atrocious. The pass defense suffered a little less, but mostly because the 49ers’ run game was so efficient.
One huge factor working against the Browns is that their two starting cornerbacks are both questionable for the game. Greedy Williams and Denzel Ward have both missed several games, and their replacements have been mediocre.
Terrance Mitchell and Eric Murray have gotten extensive time at outside cornerback, despite Murray’s primary position being safety. Metcalf essentially only plays outside receiver, so a matchup with one of the two aforementioned players should be on hand.
While an easy cornerback matchup doesn’t hurt, quarterback play makes all the difference. Russell Wilson is one of the best deep-ball throwers in the NFL, and it shows. Wilson completes 56% of his deep passes, giving him the fifth-best deep completion percentage. Tyler Lockett, another receiver, was the primary beneficiary of these passes last season, but it seems Metcalf is stepping into that role.
The former Ole Miss Rebel’s average target travels a ridiculous 17.5 yards through the air before reaching him, ranking third in the league. This, combined with the suspect corners that will be assigned to Metcalf spell trouble for the Browns.
Another thing that makes Metcalf so valuable is his ability to draw a safety. Because of his blazing speed, the Browns will have to provide safety help for whoever is guarding him. This means that Lockett will have plenty of one-on-one opportunities, all because of Metcalf. His contributions to the game on Sunday may not come in the stat sheet, but there will be an impact.