Carolina Panthers vs. Miami Dolphins Prediction: Can Cam Newton Resurrect The Panthers?
Cam Newton had his return as the Carolina Panthers starting quarterback spoiled by Washington last week, while the Miami Dolphins earned their third straight victory after a 1-7 start. So will Miami keep things rolling at home this week, or will the Panthers’ move of bringing back Newton pay dividends in this road contest?
Carolina Panthers vs. Miami Dolphins INJURY REPORT
QUESTIONABLE: G Dennis Daley,
OUT: CB Stantley Thomas-Oliver III, C Matt Paradis, QB Sam Darnold
QUESTIONABLE: WR William Fuller V, WR DeVante Parker, CB Jamal Perry, S Brandon Jones, LB Brennan Scarlett
OUT: OT Greg Little
Carolina Panthers vs. Miami Dolphins Total Movement
Carolina Panthers vs. Miami Dolphins Prediction
A week after Cam Newton was used for eight snaps in his Carolina debut against Arizona, head coach Matt Rhule decided to quickly acclimate him to the team’s playbook and name him the starting quarterback. Perhaps Newton was thrust into the starting role a little too fast, as the team mustered just 18 first downs and 297 total yards in their 27-21 loss to Washington. Newton brought his usual dimension to the running game, totaling 46 yards on ten carries, including an electrifying 24-yard touchdown run. However, his running success came at the expense of Christian McCaffrey’s output, as CMC totaled just 59 yards on ten carries.
This year’s Miami Dolphins team is following a similar path to the 2019 team. In 2019, Miami started 0-7 but finished winning five of their final nine games to end the season on a high note. Some of Miami’s struggles through the first eight weeks can be blamed on a lack of health, as quarterback Tua Tagovailoa missed multiple weeks. In addition, Miami’s two best wide receivers, William Fuller V and DeVante Parker, have missed a combined 15 games this season. However, they are both eligible to come off injured reserve this week, and if they are activated, both would add another dimension to an offense that is finding its groove.
One of the biggest differences from Miami’s 1-7 start compared to their three-game winning streak is that their offense is finally hitting on explosive plays. The Dolphins were one of three teams in the league without a 50-yard play through the first eight weeks. However, their three plays of 50+ yards since Week 9 are tied for the most in the NFL. Miami has needed every bit of those big plays, as without them, they are averaging just 4.5 yards per play over the last two weeks.
Though it is a small sample size, one would not walk away too encouraged from Cam Newton’s performance last week. Per ESPN Stats, Newton’s average air yards were 5.56 per attempt on Sunday, which is lower than his 6.8 air yards per attempt in his time as Patriots quarterback.
The Dolphins defense blitzes at one of the highest rates in the league, so one school of thought would be that such an aggressive defense would not expose Newton’s inability to throw the ball downfield. However, a blitzing defense is also vulnerable to big plays downfield if the protection is good, so Miami’s cornerbacks are more likely to sit on short routes with Newton unwilling to air it out. In addition, the more downfield threats an offense has, the more it opens up things underneath for pass-catching running backs. As a result, Miami’s linebackers can easily key in on Mccaffrey, as they do not have to worry about Carolina’s receivers stretching the field beyond the sticks.
Miami’s offense also looks better the last three weeks since their schedule lightened up considerably. The Dolphins’ previous two wins came against the Ravens and Jets, two teams that rank in the bottom two in the league in pass defense. Miami will face a much stiffer test from a Panthers defense that entered last week allowing an NFL-best 174.2 passing yards per game and the fourth-best pass rush win rate.
While many bettors will jump on Miami’s point spread as home underdogs, the safer play is the under. The under is 7-1 in Carolina’s last eight games as road favorites and has cashed in each of Miami’s last four games overall. Both defenses will play at a high level in this one.
- PICK: UNDER 42.5 (-110)