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Carolina Panthers

Five Things to Watch: Panthers vs. Dolphins

1. Monday night magic? There's always been something special about Monday Night Football.

"It's every child's dream growing up," quarterback Cam Newton said of playing on Mondays. Newton has tended to bring something special on Monday nights. The quarterback has thrown for at least 300 yards in three of his five appearances and has averaged nearly a 100 quarterback rating. In those games, the Panthers are 4-1.

The Dolphins aren't strangers to Monday Night Football - just the opposite. The game at Bank of America Stadium will extend Miami's league record for most appearances in Monday night games to 83 and will mark the third consecutive week they've played in primetime.

"There's is something about playing in (Monday Night Football) game," Dolphins head coach Adam Gase said. "It just has a different buzz to it."

2. Landry vs. Munnerlyn: Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry set an NFL record last week for most receptions in the first four years of a career. He has 56 so far this season, second most in the NFL.  

"He's one of the best pass catchers I've seen in my life," Panthers receiver Russell Shepard said.

He's also Jay Cutler's favorite target and someone who's very efficient in the intermediate passing game. While Landry has yet to haul in pass for more than 30 yards this and has only tallied one 20-plus yard reception this season, he has a knack for exploiting zone coverages and gaining yards after the catch.

"He's really good at getting off man coverage and press coverage," cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said. "He can find holes in your zone, and his run after the catch ability is off the charts. He can make you miss. He's a guy you've got to get physical with because he's very physical. He doesn't take plays off.

"I love my matchup against him. I'm a guy who's a physical guy, too. So best of luck to him on Monday."


3. Cutler is back:Since Week 6 of the 2016 season, the Dolphins have allowed 30 sacks, the fourth fewest in the NFL during that time span. The offensive line is keeping quarterbacks upright, and Cutler is doing his part to pitch in.

According to NFL's Next Gen stats, the former Chicago Bears quarterback needs just 2.47 seconds to get rid of the football. While he's typically throwing short of the first down marker, he's allowing defenses minimal time to collapse the pocket. That's good news for Miami's offensive line. The Panthers have tallied 29 sacks this season, second most in the NFL.

"He's a guy that can make all of the throws," defensive lineman Wes Horton said. "We have to get pressure on him, rattle him and get the ball out because his ball security isn't that great."

4. Angeless wonder Cameron Wake:Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake is slowly building a NFL Hall of Fame worthy resume. Since he entered the league in 2009, he leads the NFL in sacks with 87.5 and has compiled four double-digit sacks seasons in his career. With six sacks through nine weeks, he's on pace for a fifth double-digit sack campaign this year.

"He's extremely important," Gase said. "Obviously he's really the heart and soul of what we're about as an organization."

For what it's worth, Wake will line up opposite Matt Kalil, who ranks 66th out of 78 full-time offensive tackles in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus but has played better along with the line as a whole of late.

5. It starts with the run:Both the Dolphins and the Panthers want to establish the run first and foremost. However, neither team has done a particularly good job of it on a consistent basis. The Panthers' run game has fluctuated from week-to-week, while the Dolphins rank at the bottom of the league in rushing yards per game. 

On the flip side, both teams do an excellent job of shutting down the run. The Panthers sport the league's second-best rush defense while the Dolphins rank seventh-best. 

"It's probably the best defense that we've played this year," Gase said. "The talent level up front is as good as you can get. I think the linebackers, I don't know if we've ever – in our two years (in Miami) – played a group like this before."

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