NFL Monday Night Predictions
Will The Panthers Pounce Culter And The Dolphins?
Carolina’s flipped the script on their disappointing 2016 season, winning most of their close matchups instead of losing by excruciatingly small margins. The Panthers want to keep pace with the division rival New Orleans Saints, who lead the NFC South by a win.
The Dolphins threw in the towel when they traded starting running back Jay Ajayi to the NFL-best Eagles. Jay Cutler’s been surprisingly solid, including an 80.95% completion rate during their week nine loss to the Oakland Raiders. He’ll have to deal with a Panthers defense lead by Luke Kuechly, ready to pounce on the slightest error from Miami’s struggling offense.
NFL Monday Night Picks
- Game: Miami Dolphins at Carolina Panthers
- Pick: Carolina Beat -9 Spread, Under 39.0
- NFL Odds Courtesy of Sports Interaction
Dolphins at Panthers - Vital Trends
The Amazing Luke Keuchly
A big part of Carolina’s descent to the NFC South basement last year was due to Luke Keuchly’s heart-breaking concussion against the Saints. This year, he’s been healthy enough to lead the Panthers D to third-best in the NFL, allowing 17.7 PPG. Last season, Carolina allowed 25.1 PPG, mostly because of Luke’s absence. Jay Cutler’s faced many challenges over his lengthy career, but this will be one of the tougher assignments he’s faced this season.
Jay Cutler’s Hot – For Now
The Dolphins can’t really ask for more from Jay Cutler, who came out of retirement because of Ryan Tannehill’s knee injury. Over his last two games, he has a 120.5 passer rating, including a completion rate of 79.31%, five TDs, one INT and 449 yards gained. However, during his four career games against the Panthers, he has a 79.2 passer rating, including four TDs and five INTs. Carolina’s likely to halt Jay’s hot streak, especially without an elite RB to provide crucial ground support.
Miami’s Curious RB Trade
Trading RB Jay Ajayi was an admission of a season lost by Miami’s front office, and the rest of the Dolphins offense simply becomes worse without steady rushing contributions. Damien Williams has done his best to fill in for Jay’s shoes, but he averages 2.4 yards per attempt, which isn’t enough to concern any defensive squad. Miami’s yet to score a rushing TD this year, further outlining their terrible offense.
Cam Newton’s Rushing Attack
Newton’s doing just enough to give Carolina’s offense an opportunity to win on most evenings. His passer rating is poor – a mere 78.4 on 10 TDs and 11 INTs thrown. Cam uses his ability to run the ball to make up for an inaccurate arm. Over his past four games, he averages just over 50 yards per game on 6.28 yards per attempt. Newton’s run for a pair of TDs during this span, cementing his status as the best running QB in the game.
Dolphins Have A Thoroughly Average Defense
Miami allowed 22.4 PPG over their first eight games this season, ranking 17th in the NFL. They defend the run better than the pass, allowing the seventh-least rushing yards in the NFL. Stats show that their run defense tends to be weak in the red zone, ranking 20th in rushing TDs allowed. This will spell disaster against a Panthers squad partial to running the opposition ragged.
NFL X-Factors On Monday
The Panthers have beaten Miami once in the last 20 years, simply because they rarely meet. Miami has a 4-1 edge over the decades, their sole loss in 2013 by a score of 20-16. Carolina’s never beaten the Dolphins at home, losing in 2001 and 2009.
This looks like a lock as a low-scoring defensive battle, which makes the under result more likely for totals. Carolina’s unlikely to falter on defense, but the Dolphins have allowed 31.6 PPG over their last three games against the Jets, Ravens and Raiders – teams which have average or worse offensive numbers. The Panthers might match their week four output of 33 points against the Patriots, pushing the total over.
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