Week 10 concludes with a Monday Night Football matchup between the Miami Dolphins and the Carolina Panthers. Neither team is lighting up the scoreboards, but both of them have a chance to make a run at the playoffs in the second half of the season. The Dolphins need a bounce back game where they look like a new team. The Panthers need to get this win and head into their Bye Week with a very positive outlook for the remainder of the season. Kickoff inside Bank of America Stadium is at 8:30 PM ET.
Miami and Carolina have played 5 times total. Over that span, Miami holds a 4-1 record against the Panthers. The last time they played was in 2013 and Carolina won that game 20-16.
Miami (4-4) has lost 2 games in a row and are in danger of not only falling out of contention for the AFC East crown, but also any hope of a Wild Card spot. Even with Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler looking like his old self against the Raiders last weekend, they still were unable to get a win at home. This is the third straight game where the Dolphins are in the national spotlight. So far, they have been outscored 67-24 in those two games. Can Miami head up to Carolina and pull off the upset?
Carolina (6-3) held on to defeat the Atlanta Falcons last weekend. They’ve won 2 games in a row and look to extend their winning streak to 3 in a row. Despite Carolina’s ineptness on offense, they’re still in a position to head into their bye week at 7-3. It’s kind of crazy when you think about how bad they look, but they’re in a great position to win their division or at least get a wild card spot.
The Over/Under opened at 39.5 points and it’s come down to 38 total points. The spread opened with Carolina favored by 7.5 points. Currently, it has gone up to 9.5 to 10 points depending on the book.
I don’t see Miami winning this football game. Carolina is 6-3 on MNF when playing at home, and they are just a better team on paper and with the eye test. I also don’t see this game going over the 38 point mark. The Dolphins average 14.5 points per game, which is one of the worst scoring offenses in the league. Carolina only averages 18.7 points per game, so that’s a total average of 33.2 ppg.
Over the last two weeks, Miami has averaged 12 points per game and over their last 2 road games they have averaged 10 ppg. Carolina has averaged 13.3 ppg over their last 3 games and they average 16.2 points per game at home.
In their 5 games against each other, the Under is 4-1. Additionally, Miami has averaged 20.6 ppg aand Carolina has averaged 15.2 ppg in their head-to-head games. Any way you look at this, these two teams just don’t score a lot of points on a consistent basis.
The Under is 6-3 in the last 9 Miami Dolphins games and 4-1 in the last 5 Miami road games. The Under is 3-0 in Carolina’s last 3 games.
This game is going to come down to defense and quarterback play. Carolina has been winning because of their defense and Miami has been erratic because of their defense. I see the Panthers harassing Jay Cutler all day and possibly getting a few picks. They only allow 78 rushing yards per game, so you can expect the Dolphins running backs to have a tough game on Monday Night. Carolina’s run game isn’t any better and the Dolphins hold offenses to 94 rushing yards per game.
So, I expect these defenses to continue stuffing the run, but I see Carolina having more success defending the pass as they allow about 20 less passing yards per game at 214 to 233.
In the end, with two solid defenses, quarterbacks will have to make the plays to win the game. I don’t see Cutler outplaying Cam Newton in this game, which is why I’m going with the Panthers to win 23-13. Look for Cam Newton to score with his arm and his legs, while Cutler struggles against a top tier defense.