Dolphins vs. Panthers: How do they match up in Week 10?

How do the Miami Dolphins (4-4) and Carolina Panthers (6-3) match up for Monday night’s NFL Week 10 tilt at Bank of America Stadium?

Dion Jordan tries to take down Cam Newton

When the Dolphins have the ball…

 

Miami total offense (31st in NFL) vs. Carolina total defense (1st in NFL)
Miami scoring offense (32nd) vs. Carolina scoring defense (4th)

Miami passing offense (29th) vs. Carolina pass defense (6th)

Jay Cutler is coming off his best game of the season, having completed 34 of 42 passes for 311 yards and three touchdowns on Saturday night against the Raiders. Cutler’s chances of keeping that momentum going against the Panthers aren’t strong as Carolina comes into Monday night’s tilt with a defense that has held opponents under 200 yards passing five times this season. Cutler’s success last Sunday came mostly on short and intermediate passes, which will often force the offense into third downs. Considering the offense’s success will depend on converting those third downs against an above-average defense, will Miami stick with a game plan that paints it into a corner? Edge: Panthers

Miami rushing offense (30th) vs. Carolina rush defense (2nd)

Although running backs Damien Williams and Kenyan Drake served as a key element of Miami’s passing attack against the Raiders, the backfield was largely ineffective on the ground, combining for 83 yards on 16 rushing attempts. Those numbers are inflated by a 42-yard run from Drake, and Miami still hasn’t scored a touchdown on the ground yet this season. The Dolphins will be facing a top-end run D without any real horses, so it’s difficult to see how they can be a factor. Edge: Panthers


When the Panthers have the ball…

 

Carolina total offense (21st in NFL) vs. Miami total defense (10th in NFL)
Carolina scoring offense (24th) vs. Miami scoring defense (16th)

Carolina passing offense (24th) vs. Miami pass defense (14th)

Cam Newton is one of the more talented passers in the league, but his numbers haven’t been up to par this season. Newton is completing only 62.4 percent of his attempts, and has thrown more interceptions (11) than touchdowns (10). The Panthers will also be without Kelvin Benjamin (Glades Central), who was shipped to Buffalo just before the trade deadline. The Panthers offense is streaky, so Miami’s defense will need to capitalize on mistakes before Newton finds his rhythm. With only three interceptions this season, Miami seems ill-equipped to win the takeaways battle, but so long as they limit Carolina’s deep passing game, they can keep Newton in check. Edge: Dolphins

Carolina rushing offense (15th) vs. Miami rush defense (7th)

Carolina has a swiss-army knife in rookie running back Christian McCaffrey, who has yet to be featured on a team that continues to use 30-year-old Jonathan Stewart as its lead back. In fact, Cam Newton’s 69 carries are five more than McCaffrey has amassed this season. That three-headed monster, though, presents a unique challenge for a Dolphins run defense that has held five opponents under 100 yards this season. Against Atlanta, which has a similar multi-pronged rushing attack, Miami surrendered exactly 100 yards. Adding a powerful running quarterback into the equation make the task even more difficult for Miami. Edge: Panthers


Special teams

Cody Parkey’s extra-point enigma continued Sunday night when he missed his third PAT of the season in 12 attempts. The Jupiter native has been consistent elsewhere, nailing nine of 10 field-goal attempts this year. Carolina kicker Graham Gano, on the other hand, has been more consistent, nailing all but one of his 20 field-goal attempts and 15 of 16 PATs. Panthers punter Michael Palardy’s 47.4 yards per kick also compares favorably to Matt Haack’s 45.2-yard average. Edge: Panthers

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