« Pouncey, Patterson are doubtful for Sunday | Main | Pouncey to miss second consecutive game »

Keys to the game: Dolphins vs. Panthers

The Panthers are on a roll, having won six straight. The Dolphins have won two of their last three games.

Who wins?

Well, let's start by who has the edge:

When the Dolphins pass the football: Despite their wide receiver shopping spree in the offseason the Dolphins have been unable to put a dynamic passing game on the field. Instead, the team has five receivers, none of which are averaging over 12.5 yards per catch. The longest pass play last week and the longest pass play of the season has gone to tight end Charles Clay, which is great news for him as it shows he’s emerging as a fine player. But that is not such good news for speedy Mike Wallace or Brian Hartline. The problem is quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s deep ball accuracy. He promises a new approach this week. The Panthers are outstanding against the pass because they attack the quarterback, as they are eighth in the NFL in sacks per pass play. Carolina defensive end Charles Johnson, who leads the team with 8.5 sacks, may not play due to a knee injury. Dolphins offensive tackles can only hope. ADVANTAGE: Carolina.

When the Dolphins run the football: The Dolphins are actually running the ball better this year on a yard per carry basis than they did last year but the number of runs simply haven’t been enough to make the improvement matter. The Dolphins last week got great efforts from Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller as both had very good days breaking tackles or making tacklers miss. The Panthers are the best run-stopping team the Dolphins have faced so far this season. They’re third in the NFL in rush yards allowed per game. The first-round additions of defensive tackle Star Lotulelei and middle linebacker Luke Kuechly the past two years has turned the middle of the defense into a strength. ADVANTAGE: Carolina.

When the Panthers run the football: The problem here for the Dolphins is not only that DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart are healthy, but that quarterback Cam Newton is a legitimate dual threat with the run as well as the pass. In his first 42 games, Newton has passed for 56 touchdowns and rushed for 26 touchdowns. Newton is actually the team’s second-leading rusher with 328 yards but because his runs often come out of the spread option or as a result of his scrambling, they are a headache for a defense trying to contain him. The Dolphins have a player – Dion Jordan – who is bigger, stronger, and faster than Newton so if they want to spy him, they have the ability. The question is will the Dolphins go with such an unorthodox approach? ADVANTAGE: Even.

When the Panthers pass the football: Ted Ginn and the family are back in town. Well, Ginn is back to play his former team in South Florida for the first time since being traded in 2009. Ginn was a member of the 49ers last year but he was almost exclusively a returner. He is now Carolina’s deep-threat option as his 17.1 yard per catch average suggests. The top receiving option for the Panthers remains Steve Smith who is headed for a familiar matchup with Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes, whom he often faced when both players were in the NFL South. The Dolphins must find a way to pressure Newton because, aside from his pure athletic talent, he is developing as a quarterback able to manage the game and influence defensive backs with his eyes. ADVANTAGE: Even.

Special teams: Carolina kicker Graham Gano is a perfect five-for-five from 50-pus yards this season and has missed only one of his 15 attempts. Ginn is well known to be dangerous but inconsistent as a returner. The Dolphins, as always, have one of the NFL’s best punters in Brandon Fields. His ability to flip field position is a weapon and could be extremely valuable in a game that is expected to be close. ADVANTAGE: Even.

Coaching: Carolina’s Ron Rivera was on a win-or-else mandate from the start of the season and things looked bleak after another slow start. But the Panthers, who typically play better later in the year, have won six games in a row and are coming off a stirring victory over New England. Rivera’s job is to keep the momentum. Joe Philbin has the hardest job in the NFL now. He has to win while managing scandal. So far the Dolphins have adapted and won two of three games but the Panthers are the best team the Dolphins have faced in a month and they know how to win close games. ADVANTAGE: Even.

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

After reading this entry, Armando, I feel like turning off this computer and go fishing(which I hate) Great!

Even LV has gone up 1/2 point against Us to -4.5 Carolina. We can get no respect around here!

Carolina is rightfully favored and should be able to take advantage of Miami's completely inadequate offensive line--a situation that the Dolphins can do nothing about right now and no amount of coaching or magic pixie dust will alleviate.

Panthers 24-13.

ESPN's Herm Edwards' keys to the game:

YOU PLAY...THE GAME...TO WIN!!!

TH needs a new approach in general, not just with his deep ball--he needs to rollout alot more, be more active and decisive in the pocket in general (run for the 7 yards when its there, instead of dumping off a 3 yard pass that is often incomplete/ineffective).....and attempt AND connect on a few long balls, which would loosen everything up underneath--this shouldnt be too optimistic, none of it should be so difficult for a guy with his skill set--the kid needs to start making important plays, when it matters.

Mando you sir are at your best with on the field analysis. Having said that it should be a heck of a game. They are playing their best which should elevate our game as well. I look forward to it being a slugfest to the end. Bring on them Panthers!

Yes benz, want to see him scramble and run when the opportunity is there, to keep them guessing.

Tannehill will not have those opportunities to set up and throw effectively as the Panthers should easily overwhelm the Dolphins patched together offensive line.

There is nothing he or the coaches can do about this.

Actually, I am being overly generous by thinking the Dolphins will even manage to score 13 points.

Carolina is possibly the best defensive unit in the NFL and the Dolphins have probably the worst offensive line in the league right now--a situation made even worse with Pouncey's probable absence.

They got away with it last week. Tomorrow they will not. Philbin can do nothing about it. It is simply a talent issue that cannot be addressed until the season ends.

I will amend my prediction to 24-6 Carolina.

I would bet most of you saying the Phins or T-hill will be this or fail at that likely picked against the Phins last week and the week before that and the week before that....and so on. Just like Dustybrain.

The Fins need to come out like they did last week. Throwing the ball. Quick, fast paced high tempo routes to set up play action and the running game. Need to try to stay out of 3rd and long and sure passing situations to have a chance.

I thought Miami would win last week despite the woeful state of the OL, so you are wrong in your assessment.

The Chargers are not a good road team at all and their defense is very suspect.

Carolina is a completely different matter. I see nothing the Dolphins can do either on the field or on the sidelines (coaching) to stop the barrage that is coming their way. Again, it is simply a matter of talent. Miami does not have enough of it on that line to compete effectively against a superior defense.

After watching Carolina the pasr two weeks I don't see where the phins have any advantage other than Fields.

Yeah sure real pessimist. I have a rule don't believe anything trolls or pretend fans post on here. Hey that's why they play them on the field. Not even giving us a chance is silly...ask the Colts. So many picked against us and we won in spite of the negative perception.

I went to my first Dolphins game in 1968 and have had season tickets for over 30 years. I have also attended approximately 40 road games over the years.

"Pretend fan?" Again, you are clueless.

I will net pat Devlin or Matt More can find Wallace deep on a regular basis.

Carolina wont get up for the hapless Fins. They're coming off a big Monday night win over the Pats.

The way a seemingly overmatched team(on paper) can win, and winning as the underdog in LV is by winning the turnover battle and scoring TDs off of those turnovers.
The LV computers who make the odds in 2013 do not have algorithms that can correctly predict takeaways.
They also could help themselves by scoring Tds when they reach the Red Zone which they have done for the most part in 2013.

Carolina is a completely different matter. I see nothing the Dolphins can do either on the field or on the sidelines (coaching) to stop the barrage that is coming their way. Again, it is simply a matter of talent. Miami does not have enough of it on that line to compete effectively against a superior defense.

Posted by: realist | November 23, 2013 at 02:27 PM

I agree this is a trenches game but I've watched the Panthers a couple of times this Yr. and their a chains moving team and I believe that Grimes can shutdown S.Smith enough to make it a low scoring affair. I think the team that wins the turn over battle in this type of attrition contest should win.

The Keys to me:

1) Lafell is the chains mover at WR and the play out of RCB Patterson (if he can finally go) or Carroll is huge because this is were Cam's looked alot on 3rd & short and as funny as some might find it we should all be weary of their 3 WR sets with Wilson matched up on Ginn's speed.

2) For whatever reason we've been very susceptible to between the Tackles running this Yr. at both our DE's (Wake and Vernon) and wonder if playing Odrick back outside isn't best even if it hurts our pass rush although very unlikely this week needing their speed to contain the edge on Cam. Their play though versus the run especially on short yardage will be key when the Panthers go with bowling ball M.Tolbert.

3) Here's the biggest key and my biggest reservation as well because this is a game Tannehill will have to win on his shoulders and his alone! Running on the Panthers is tough enough without going at their strong front-7 with a patch work line. Keuchley will have a filed day blowing everything up in the hole.

4) The one Panthers D weakness IMO is an overrated D-Backfield made to appear better than they are by their front-7. So I suspect we roll the pocket in this one plenty and let Tannehill play to his strength which so far seems to be the intermediate pass game. Clay will need to come up BIG here pulling Kuechly into some pass coverage. Some 2 T.E. would be nice, let's see if the Egnew/Sims combo can give us a play or two.

5) The Wild Card is definitely Dion Jordan who needs his breakout game setting some edge, pressuring Newton and covering Olson. I'd line him up all over the formations which we saw a little of last week with him covering A.Gates some at OLB while also playing DE.

The BIG thing here is neither Coaching staff is what I'd call adept at adjusting so I guess the most important thing tomorrow is which Dolphins D shows up? The one that train wrecked the Bengals and won it last week or the gang that played Tampa, Buffalo ect....?

I was just mowing my lawn in California. I had a Dolphins sweatshirt on. A lady pulled to the side of the road and told me to keep the faith. She shared with me that there aren't oo many Dolfans in Cali...I told her that we have a faithful few that will not give up on this team ever!

Keep the faith people. I don't think Carolina is as good as people are saying and we are not as bad as people are presuming.

Dolfans don't back down ever!! Brenner the ultimate underdog will provide the inspiration we need. To heck with cogs and big baby. We need neither of them.

Blitz Cam early and often on defense and throw some screen passes to running backs like maybe Thigpen for example, do something different. Panthers defense is very good but can be had deep if we can come up with some plays that will give Tannehill time to throw deep, and he has to prove that he can. I got Dolphins 19-16 anybody with me ?

Oh I forgot who you picking Armando is that tomorrow ?

I saw it , I missed earlier just got home nobody is picking the Dolphins, I think they win 19-16

Panthers 38 Dolphins 3

Ginn 3td's.

Jeff Ireland sulks and he sucks.

No one to cover Greg Olson.

Shame.

Phins fans gets their hopes up for one measly week, for the first time since 3-0. How sad, how pathetic that some still believe.

One or two have actually uttered the word play offs lmao.

Maybe if The Dolphins uniforms weren't so gay they might have a chance.

Tannereach gets sacked eight times on Sunday.

Phins go down by two scores early and are never in it.

Won't be the same with those clear bags over your heads.

Tacotruck has been sniffing the salsa.

Faith in what ?

Dolfans don't back down ?

The Dolphins are losing fans faster than any other team in the NFL. This is a documented fact.

The Dolphins team certainly backs down.

Did you watch the game against The Bucs ?

Embarrassed on national t.v..

Just a pi$s poor organization that's working on its fifth losing season in a row, sixth next year under a new new new new regime.

Laughingstock of an organization.

Use your sweatshirt as a rag and clean the house.

Pouncey visited his tailor today to size up an orange jumpsuit with a prison number stenciled on the back.

The one thing I will never get is why people come into these blogs and say the Dolphins have no chance. There is so much parody in the NFL these days, you just never know. I would say that Carolina is not elite or unbeatable and that the Dolphins do have a shot today- bc that is the NFL. IF the Dolphins lose today, then come on here and criticize the coaching, the GM, the owner and whatever. But until the game is played and the result determined, shut the F--- Up.

The comments to this entry are closed.