Pay close attention to these 5 things when the Seahawks play the Browns today

SEATTLE – When you see a team come to town that’s struggling as bad as the Cleveland Browns, your first thought is that you might be looking at a gimme.

In this case, you might just be right. Here are five reason to believe the Seattle Seahawks are in great position to beat the Browns today.

Tale of the tape

Take a look at the numbers.

Seattle’s 8-5. It has the No. 5 ranked offense and the No. 2 ranked defense in the NFL. It’s sixth in points scored per game, and third in points allowed.

Cleveland, on the other hand, is 3-10. It’s got the 21st best offense in the NFL and the 26th best defense, and it’s close to dead last in points scored (29th) and points allowed (30th).

And oh, by the way: Seattle’s defenses hasn’t allowed a touchdown in its past two games.

Russell the Elite

Last week, Browns coach Mike Pettine made headlines when he said Seattle’s Russell Wilson isn’t an elite quarterback.

Wilson, you’ll remember, has a Super Bowl ring and back-to-back NFC titles, and he's thrown 16 touchdowns and no interceptions his last four games.

Wilson is playing the best football of any quarterback in the NFL right now. Giving him some bulletin-board material might not be the smartest move Pettine’s ever made.

Baldwin the Elite

So how has Wilson done it? It certainly hasn’t hurt that Doug Baldwin’s been playing spectacularly too.

You can make argument that Baldwin's been the most underrated Seahawk until recently – but you can also make the case that he's been the most underrated player in the NFL. His 11 touchdowns are fourth among NFL receivers, and his 61 catches are ninth among NFC receivers. He’s on pace for 75 catches and 1,058 yards – and he could become the first Seahawks receiver to make the Pro Bowl since Brian Blades in 1989.

One other fun fact: No Seahawks receiver not named Blades or Largent has ever been to the Pro Bowl.

Homecoming weekend!

Two guys from the Puget Sound will be suiting up for the Browns on Sunday. Both were draft picks this year.

Former WSU star Xavier Cooper of Tacoma will be lining up at defensive tackle, as will Danny Shelton of Auburn High and UW.

Shelton, a first-round draft pick, has slowed down a little bit lately, but Cooper’s been getting stronger as the season’s gone along. He’s playing about 40 percent of the snaps lately.

Michael vs. Brown: Who ya got?

Is there any doubt Christine Michael will get the start at running back for the Seahawks? He’s a former second-round pick who Seattle then cut – he’s not being brought back to stand on the sidelines. A guy of his talent isn’t going to sit around so somebody like Bryce Brown can get all the carries. If he doesn’t start, watch for him to get the majority of the carries – at least as long as he can hang on to the football.