The Miami Dolphins haven’t looked the same since all of this Richie Incognito and Jonathon Martin news started breaking. Sure, they weren’t one of the most powerful teams in the NFL prior to the news, but the drama surrounding the story as well as the detriment it brings to their offensive line has certainly been felt in their play.
This week the Dolphins will be up against a surging Carolina Panthers team that has now won six consecutive games and established themselves as one of the better teams in the league. One of the staples of the Panthers this season has been their vaunted defense, which ranks in the top five in the league against both the run and the pass.
The Panthers’ run defense has unquestionably been their biggest strength, though. Their front seven is one of the most impressive in the league and always seems to stuff opponents when they try to move the ball on them on the ground. Considering the Panthers run defense in addition to the Dolphins inconsistent and often ineffective rushing game, that could be a problem area for Miami on Sunday.
As a result, this game could be a big test for Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill has been decent for Miami this season, but has had a bit of trouble with turnovers, throwing 11 interceptions on the year, and with dealing with that depleted offensive line. He’ll certainly see some pressure on Sunday versus the Panthers, but the young quarterback has to remain calm, make smart decisions and not make mistakes when he drops back against Carolina. If not, things could just get worse for the Dolphins this season.