The 7-3 Carolina Panthers will attempt to extend their winning streak to seven games when they travel to Miami to take on the 5-5 Dolphins Sunday.
The Dolphins, who have been at the center of a media firestorm since offensive tackle Jonathan Martin left the team and guard Richie Incognito was suspended, remain in the thick of the playoff race in the AFC after earning a 20-16 win over the San Diego Chargers last week.
The Panthers are a game behind the New Orleans Saints in the NFC South and their 24-20 victory over the New England Patriots Monday night actually moved the Dolphins to within two games of first place in the AFC East.
Quarterback Cam Newton, who is developing into one of the best quarterbacks in the league, will go up against a Dolphins’ defense that has struggled at times. Newton has completed 189-of-299 passes for 2,179 yards with 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He’s also rushed for 328 yards and four touchdowns.
The Dolphins have been especially bad against the run as of late, so expect the Panthers, who now have three healthy (well, for the most part) backs to look to exploit that weakness.
The Panthers’ defense has turned into one of the best units in the league, ranking fifth against the pass and third against the run. The absence of Panthers’ defensive end Charles Johnson, who was injured Monday, could be key if the Dolphins hope to keep Ryan Tannehill clean and upright. On the season, Tannehill is 224-of-366 for 2,474 yards with 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
The Panthers are a 4.5 favorite and I expect them to cover in a fairly close game.
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