Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel talks to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee )

Dolphins Look to Earn Fifth Win Against Struggling Panthers

The Miami Dolphins host the winless Carolina Panthers Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium. The 4-1 Dolphins currently hold the top spot in the AFC East and are coming off of a 31-16 win against the New York Giants in Week 5. The Panthers are 0-5 on the season, sitting in last place in the NFC. Carolina and rookie quarterback Bryce Young have had their struggles, losing 42-24 against the Lions in their last game.

This game also brings a matchup between two former Alabama quarterbacks. Tagovailoa is famously remembered for coming in for Jalen Hurts and leading Alabama to a National Championship against Georgia in 2018.

The Breakdown

The Dolphins enter this game on an offensive tear. Miami is averaging 36.2 points per game this year and they do it with their speed. Talents like Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill make this offense dangerous. Miami is averaging 327.8 passing yards and 185.8 rushing yards per game. Led by MVP candidate Tua Tagovailoa, the Dolphins are Super Bowl contenders when healthy and should continue their success against the Panthers.

However, the Dolphins will be without breakout rookie running back De’von Achane, who was placed on injured reserve due to a knee injury. Achane currently leads the team in rushing yards with 460 and ranks second in the NFL.

Defensively, Miami needs some work. They are allowing 27 points per game and have had trouble stopping the run all season.

The Panthers enter this game in an odd situation. With the Chicago Bears owning the rights to Carolina’s first round draft pick, the Panthers will not own what is currently the first pick in the 2024 NFL draft. Quarterback Bryce Young has had his rookie struggles, throwing for one less interception than touchdowns through five games. As a team, Carolina is getting outscored by just over 10 points per game, only averaging 18.2 points. The Panthers heavily prioritize the pass, with Miles Sanders currently being the lead back with 190 rushing yards on the season. Carolina’s defense is allowing 28.8 points per game, and against an offense like Miami’s, Sunday doesn’t favor the Panthers.

Kickoff Sunday is set for 1 p.m.

What’s Next

After Sunday’s game, the Dolphins will look ahead to a major matchup against the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Night Football Oct. 22. This will be Miami’s biggest game of the season so far. In its last meaningful matchup against the Buffalo Bills, Miami was dominated 48-20.

Carolina enters a bye week following Sunday’s game against the Dolphins. They take on the Houston Texans in a rookie quarterback showdown on Oct. 29. Bryce Young matches up against standout C.J. Stroud who has 1,461 passing yards to go along with seven touchdowns. Stroud has also thrown no interceptions through five games. For reference, Young has thrown for 750 yards on the year to go with five touchdowns and four interceptions.

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