After falling to Washington at home last week, the Carolina Panthers (5-6 record) travel to play Miami (4-7) this Sunday in a 1 p.m. kickoff on FOX.
Miami has won three straight games after starting the season 1-7. Last week, the Dolphins held off the Jets, 24-17, with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa completing 27-of-33 pass attempts for 273 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
Miami ranks 26th in the league in total offense, one spot worse than Carolina. The Dolphins’ rushing offense ranks 31st in the league with an average of 77.4 yards per game.
Carolina had trouble stopping the run in last week’s loss to Washington, giving up 190 rushing yards.
The Panthers’ strength on defense has been in defending the pass. Carolina leads the league in passing yards allowed per game (174.2), and their 30 total sacks rank third in the league behind Chicago and Minnesota.
QB Cam Newton will make his second straight start. Newton completed 21-of-27 attempts for 189 yards and two touchdowns against Washington while also scoring on a 24-yard run. Miami ranks 29th in the league in pass defense (274.2 yards allowed per game) and total defense (382.8 yards allowed per game), so this could be an opportunity for Carolina to get well on offense.
Newton hasn’t thrown for 300-plus yards in a game since throwing for 365 in a 27-20 loss to Houston as a member of the New England Patriots a year ago (Nov. 22, 2020).
As it stands, Carolina is the No. 9 team in the NFC, trailing No. 7 San Francisco by half a game for the conference’s final playoff spot.
Fivethirtyeight.com gives Carolina a 16% chance to make the playoffs this season; that number jumps up to 26% if the Panthers beat the Dolphins.