3 major storylines following the Carolina Panthers into Week 6 at Dolphins

The Carolina Panthers travel south to take on the Miami Dolphins in Week 6.
Chuba Hubbard
Chuba Hubbard / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

What major storylines are following the Carolina Panthers into their Week 6 road showdown against the Miami Dolphins?

The tale of the tape reads like an obvious mismatch for the upcoming contest between the Carolina Panthers (0-5) and the Miami Dolphins (4-1). And that's being nice about it.

Through the first handful of weeks, these two teams have displayed a very different outlook. Miami is a true contender to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in February 2024. The Panthers have their sights set on picking up a win, period.

The Panthers are 2-5 all-time against the Dolphins and 1-3 as the road visitors. The last time the Big Cats beat Miami was on Monday Night Football in 2017, a 45-21 drubbing.

Carolina will have a tough time trying to get anywhere near that kind of result this afternoon down in Miami Gardens, Florida. Here are the major storylines following the Panthers into this game.

Miami rushing offense vs. Carolina Panthers run defense

This Dolphins team is a juggernaut on offense, and specifically with the ground game. Their 929 rushing yards and 6.9 yards per carry are league-leading per Sharp Football Analysis and they also lead the league in rate of runs to gain five or more yards (46.2%) and 10 or more yards (20.0%).

The Carolina Panthers have allowed 704 rushing yards (26th ranked) and an average of 4.9 yards per carry (28th). As for the explosive plays - Ejiro Evero's defense allows a league-high 44.0 percent of carries to gain five or more yards, and their 15.7% clip ranks 29th for carries to gain 10 or more.

To make things just a bit more daunting, defensive tackle Derrick Brown (ankle and knee) and outside linebacker Brian Burns (ankle) have each been nursing lower body ailments. Although they're active and will play, they're not 100 percent healthy.

Carolina Panthers secondary vs. Miami pass offense

Statistically, the Panthers haven’t been bad defending the pass offense of their opponents - boasting the sixth stingiest pass yards total (1,022). In familiar fashion, the Dolphins passing offense is the best in the league - ranking first in total pass yards (1,681) and yards per completion (10.0).

The task this week feels even taller with both starting safeties being ruled out with injuries. Journeyman safety, Matthias Farley, has been elevated from the practice squad to fill in for Vonn Bell, as Sam Franklin Jr. will once again draw the start in place of Xavier Woods.

Donte Jackson missed last week with a shoulder injury but is active and starting in this one. So, there’s that.

Chuba Hubbard and Raheem Blackshear get their shot

One of the big free agent signings of the offseason - running back Miles Sanders - has gotten off to a disappointing start to the season. He's has dealt with his share of bumps and bruises, as well.

Those have caught up to him this week, as he’s earned an inactive status due to a shoulder complication. That opens the door for Chuba Hubbard to continue building on his strong start.

Hubbard is averaging 4.4 yards per carry (compared to Sanders’ 3.1 YPC). The former fourth-round pick has clearly been the more explosive runner.

Raheem Blackshear has been a healthy inactive since Week 2 but should get opportunities today as the backup. The Dolphins defense has allowed 579 rushing yards to opponents (17th) on an average of 4.0 yards per carry (16th), so this might be an area the Panthers can exploit.

The game script could certainly play a part in just how much work these players see today, as the 14.5-point spread favoring the Dolphins clearly indicates that the outcome of this one isn’t exactly expected to be close. Either way, I look for both of these players to show more dynamism than this team has gotten from the position thus far.