The Miami Dolphins visit the Carolina Panthers in Week 10 of the 2017 NFL season. PFF previews the top player matchups of the game.
PFFELO Ranking: 29
Coverage by: Cyrus Geller
Matchup: Miami Dolphins offense vs. Carolina Panthers defense
- WR DeVante Parker vs. CB Daryl Worley – The Dolphins offense really missed Parker’s presence in the lineup, and he was very effective in his return to action last week, catching five balls for 76 yards and Jay Cutler had a passer rating of 106.8 when targeting him. Parker will have a favorable matchup this week, as he will see a lot of Daryl Worley, who is currently ranked 92nd out of 115 qualified cornerbacks with an overall grade of 45.6. Quarterbacks this season have a passer rating of 111.6 when throwing at him, which is ranked 100th out of 114 cornerbacks that qualify.
- G Jermon Bushrod vs. DI Kawann Short – This matchup on the interior favors the Panthers, as Short has had a terrific season, posting an overall grade of 88.7, which is eighth best among 117 qualified interior defenders. Bushrod on the other hand, has struggled. He has allowed 20 pressures this year, which is tied for the sixth most out of 78 offensive guards that qualify. If these two find each other matched up one-on-one often, the advantage is decidedly with Carolina.
- RB Damien Williams vs. LB Luke Kuechly – Williams was a force catching the ball out of the backfield last week against Oakland, catching all six balls thrown his way for a touchdown and a passer rating of 138.9 when targeted. His receiving grade of 80.4 is 12th out of 52 qualified running backs this season, so Luke Kuechly will be tested. Kuechly this year has the third best coverage grade among linebackers at 86.3, though he was exposed a bit last week, allowing five of the six balls thrown at him to be completed for 41 yards, 31 of which came after the catch. It will be interesting to see how this matchup plays out.
Coverage by: Mike Manning
- RB Christian McCaffrey vs. LB Lawrence Timmons – McCaffrey, the league’s most targeted halfback, has finally converted his first career rushing touchdown in Week 9 of his rookie year. He has continued to thrive in the passing game, as he’s forced 11 missed tackles after the catch, the third-most by a halfback this season. His 90.1 receiving grade is not only the highest by a halfback in 2017 but it is the sixth-highest ever recorded by PFF for a halfback. But McCaffrey has struggled to get going on the ground with only 1.86 yards after contact per attempt, only Javorius Allen has fewer per attempt this season. Timmons has done well in coverage against halfbacks this season, only allowing 94 yards on 15 targets and has yet to give up a touchdown to one. But Timmons has also missed nine tackles this season, the second-most by a linebacker with less than 400 snaps played.
- QB Cam Newton vs. Edge Cameron Wake – Newton has had mixed results this season when dealing with pressure. The Panthers quarterback leads the league in adjusted completion percentage when under pressure with 75.7 percent but also has a touchdown to interception ratio of 1:4. Newton has relied on his legs often when under pressure, he’s been able to convert six first downs on runs while under pressure, which is the most in the league by a quarterback. Wake will have to continue to get pressure like he has been doing all season, with his 35 total pressures. With the 11th-highest pass-rush grade (86.3) among edge defenders, Wake is capable of forcing Newton out of the pocket.
- WR Curtis Samuel vs. CB Bobby McCain – Week 9 was the Panthers’ first game without Kelvin Benjamin this season and Samuel saw the biggest jump in snaps because of it. The rookie was on the field for 75.4 percent of the team’s snaps, by far his highest percentage of the season. He split his routes evenly in half between the slot and out wide with 12 apiece. Samuel did most of his damage from the slot, with two of his three receptions coming from there. But the former Buckeye has only recorded one reception farther than 10 yards downfield this season. McCain is the Dolphins highest graded cornerback at 77.0 overall, ranking 48th out of 115 cornerbacks. He has allowed a passer rating of 94.5 when covering the slot this season.