Carolina Panthers look to get critical win, move to .500
The Miami Dolphins were 1-7 for the 2021 season until three weeks ago. That's when the team flipped the switch and turn on the light to complimentary football. Much like the Carolina Panthers, they turned their focus to a week to week focus in stead of trying to build on the momentum from previous weeks. It's worked. But not so much for the Carolina Panthers. With an amazing compliment of weapons on both sides of the ball, the Panthers have failed to capitalize on wins, at least on paper, they should secured. The team needs to win now to keep their playoff hopes alive. If the playoffs started today, they'd be left off the list.
There is hope, however, due to Cam Newton's recent arrival. The former NFL MVP is currently undergoing a crash course on Joe Brady's offense, gaining ground with each practice. Newton went 24-for-31 for 197 yards in the passing game since his return. He hasn't thrown a single interception and scored three touchdowns.
The Achilles heal for Carolina and Miami throughout the season has been the penalties they've racked up. With more than 80 errors the Panthers lead the league and continue to fall short of the promise the roster is capable of. Miami has been hit with 75 penalties this year but have managed to figure things out that the Panthers have yet to decipher. The Panthers coaching staff has continued to preach the message of holding one another accountable, but that message has not crossed over consistently on game day.
Another key factor that will have to be addressed is Joe Brady's lack of rushing plays on offense. During the most recent loss to the Washington Football Team Christian McCaffrey got the lion's share of the ground game production - moving away from the more balanced attack from the team's win against the Falcons where they ran the ball over 40 times and spread the carries out among the group.
To get the much needed win on Sunday, they have to mount a diverse rushing attack that includes but it not dominated by Christian McCaffrey. They also have to stop the run which has been the dagger for the Carolina defense all season. The Panthers must also move outside of Joe Brady's safe zone of underneath passes and go for the gusto down field.