Dolphins (4-7) at Panthers (5-6), Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX
Latest line: Panthers are favored by 1 1/2 points. Over/under: 42.
Dave Hyde, Sports Columnist (Season record: 6-5): Dolphins 24, Carolina 20
The Dolphins have found some confidence the last few weeks as well as their dominant defense. Cam Newton had a good first week back at Carolina. But this is a good set-up for the Dolphins to win their fourth straight game and help salvage a disappointing season — and perhaps several coaching jobs.
Omar Kelly, Dolphins Columnist (Season record: 7-4): Dolphins 21, Panthers 17
I feel like I’m putting too much faith in a team that lost seven straight games earlier this season, but the Dolphins are warming up and Tua Tagovailoa’s accuracy and efficiency gives the team a chance to win every Sunday. Brian Flores just needs to get his support system — receivers, tailbacks and offensive linemen — to play better, giving the improved defense a chance to secure a victory.
David Furones, Dolphins Writer (Season record: 7-4): Dolphins 20, Panthers 17
It will be difficult against this Panthers defense that gets pressure on the quarterback and is No. 1 in pass defense, but the Dolphins should ride the momentum at home against another sub-.500 team. The defense carries the Dolphins, and the offense finds ways to put together a couple of touchdown drives or maybe the defense can create a game-changing turnover. Familiarity with Panthers quarterback Cam Newton from him spending last year in New England also helps. Miami should pull one out in similar fashion to the Week 1 win at the Patriots.
Kathy Laughlin, Sports Editor (Season record: 7-4): Dolphins 23, Panthers 20
The return of quarterback Cam Newton sparked Carolina last week, and running back Christian McCaffrey makes the Panthers’ rushing game even more dangerous. Can the Dolphins defense keep the lid on these two? The defense has looked stronger of late, especially against the Ravens’ impressive offense. It will be close, but I think Tua Tagovailoa will be good enough to get enough points on the board, and the Dolphins defense will get it done at home.
Keven Lerner, Assistant Sports Editor (Season record: 7-4): Panthers 23, Dolphins 20
Carolina leads the league in pass defense and has the No. 2-ranked overall defense in the NFL. Panthers linebacker Haason Reddick leads the NFC with 10 1/2 sacks and has 18 sacks in his last 15 games. The Dolphins’ struggling offensive line will be hard-pressed to slow him down. On offense, Christian McCaffrey and Cam Newton should move the ball against the Dolphins’ 29th-ranked defense.
Steve Svekis, Assistant Sports Editor (Season record: 6-5): Panthers 19, Dolphins 13
Carolina has allowed 114.5 rushing yards a game, good for a mediocre 19th in the league, but that middling ranking hides a deeper statistical truth: In four of their 10 games, they have allowed a combined 784 yards on the ground (196.0 per game) against teams in the top half of the NFL in running yards per game. They have locked down the teams for whom running is more of a challenge to the tune of 62.2 yards a game. The Dolphins average 77.4 yards per game on the ground, second-worst in the NFL. If Carolina can make Miami’s second and third downs of long yardage, it could be a long day.