The Miami Dolphins will try and return to the win column when they take on the Carolina Panthers on Monday.
After starting the season at 4-2, Miami has dropped two consecutive decisions. That skid has made this contest a pivotal one for the Dolphins. Falling to 4-5 could doom Miami's season, especially with a tough schedule on the way. Beating the Panthers in their home stadium will be anything but easy however.
While Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has struggled at times this year, his team is still 6-3. A lot of that credit has to go to Carolina's defense, which is currently one of the league's best. With Jay Cutler's inconsistency and Carolina's defensive ability, this could be a long night for the Dolphins offense. The Panthers are allowing only 274.1 yards per game, which is the best total in the NFL through nine weeks of play.
Partly due to Newton's aforementioned ineffectiveness, the Panthers are currently 24th in the NFL in points scored per game. Miami has a solid defensive unit itself, which could make this a rather low-scoring affair. The kicking teams for both sides could come into play early and often. In addition to potential field goals, field position following punts could be the difference maker.
In last week's loss, the Dolphins gave most of their carries to Kenyan Drake and he answered with 69 yards on the ground. Damien Williams meanwhile had 14 yards rushing himself. It is likely that Drake will again see the heavier workload, but neither man is expected to do much damage. Williams is officially listed as questionable with a hamstring injury on Miami's injury report. Carolina is only allowing 78.4 yards per game on the ground this season, which is good for second place in the entire league.
Monday's game will get underway at 8:30 p.m.