The Carolina Panthers come into week 12 of the 2013 NFL season sitting pretty. After winning their last six games and sitting just 1.5 games behind the New Orleans Saints in the division, the Panthers now face an opponent that has been struggling and dealing with some unpleasant off the field issues in the Miami Dolphins.
Last week on Monday Night Football, the Panthers answered any questions that anyone might have had about this team being a legitimately good squad as they defeated the New England Patriots. Sure, there was a controversial call (or no-call) to end the game that went their way, but you can’t take away how good the Panthers looked throughout the night in that game to even have the chance to pull out the victory.
Coming off such a high-profile matchup and with their confidence almost surely at an all-time high, this Panthers team has to avoid a let-down against a depleted Miami team on Sunday. As has been the case for much of the season, Carolina’s defense will be huge in their efforts against the Dolphins.
The Panthers defense has been, simply, dominant this season. They rank third in the NFL against the run, fifth against the pass and are the best defense in the league in terms of points allowed. Their front seven has been huge in that, stifling the run and putting pressure on the quarterback. Pressure on the quarterback is going to be something that they should be able to and need to do against the Dolphins.
With Miami’s offensive line short-handed due to the bullying scandal going down within their organization, the Dolphins’ line has been even more porous than they already wore. Ryan Tannehill has been sacked 41 times this season, more than any QB in the league. With the Panthers ability to get pressure on with their pass rush, that’s an area that Carolina could exploit in this game.
If you’re wise, your money is already on the Panthers in this game. This Dolphins team is an absolute wreck right now with their depleted lineup and the drama that they’re dealing with. They also can’t be overlooked, but if Carolina’s defense is able to capitalize on an advantageous matchup for their front seven, this game is definitely set to work in the Panthers’ favor.