The Miami Hurricanes are ranked No. 1 in the NFL this season, and they have a great defense that is one of the best in the nation.
But the Dolphins also have the lowest fantasy point average in the league, at 1.2 points per game.
The reason is simple.
Their defense is awful.
The team ranks 30th in defensive DVOA, according to Football Outsiders, and has allowed more than 25 points per contest in four of the last six weeks.
The defense was the reason why the New Orleans Saints were able to come back from a 24-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Dolphins last week, and it’s the reason the Carolina Panthers were able the past two weeks to come from behind to beat Miami.
Miami is also tied with the Atlanta Falcons for the league lead in turnovers per game, and that’s not the only issue that the team is facing.
Miami ranks No. 7 in the Football Outsider Football Power Index, which measures how effective the defense is against teams with multiple passing attacks.
The Dolphins have allowed the third-most passing yards per game (4.16), and their opponents are the seventh-most scoring offenses (18.6 points per play).
But it’s not just the defense that has issues against the pass.
The offense also struggles.
The Miami offense ranks No, 27th in points per possession, and Miami has scored fewer than 70 points in five of the past six games.
It’s not as if Miami is a bad offense, either.
The Panthers have been a good offense the past three weeks, averaging 23.6 rushing yards per contest, and the team ranks No., 22nd in points scored per game with 12.3.
But as you can see, the Dolphins are ranked among the worst in the conference in both rushing offense and scoring.
This isn’t just a team issue.
The NFL’s worst defensive DVPA is currently held by the Philadelphia Eagles, who are the league’s sixth-worst defense at 0.68 points per drive.
The Carolina Panthers rank No. 8 in the DVOA rankings for this year’s defense.
And it doesn’t even get into the offense’s problems.
The offensive line is struggling to protect quarterback Cam Newton, and Newton has a history of fumbling the ball.
Newton has just one fumble in nine games, and he has yet to score more than eight points.
Carolina has allowed an average of 5.4 yards per play to opposing quarterbacks this season.
That’s not even the worst of it.
Carolina is ranked No, 18th in the defensive DVOPA rankings, and last in points allowed per drive, allowing 7.4 points per attempt.
The Panther defense has allowed a whopping 32 points per week, second-most in the entire league.
But if the Panthers defense is bad, then the offense is even worse.
That’s because of the Panthers’ offensive line.
It ranks third in DVOA for the season, allowing the sixth-most yards per carry (2.68) and second-fewest touchdowns allowed (4).
But as noted above, the Panthers are the worst offensive unit in the NFC South.
The Falcons rank No, 7 in points surrendered per drive (7.5), and have allowed an NFL-worst 20.6 yards per attempt on the ground.
The Saints rank No., 13 in offensive DVOA and have the worst passing offense in the division.
The Bears rank No,.
5 in offensive DVOA and rank third in points.
The Patriots are No. 10 in DVOPA, allowing just 7.2 yards per drive and third-fewst in passing yards allowed per game at 5.8.
The Colts rank No..
5 in DVOPA, averaging just 6.8 yards per run and fourth-fewth in rushing attempts per game on the season.
All of that is why Carolina’s offense is ranked as the worst overall team in the AFC South.
It has a lot of issues, but it’s no longer a team.
The real question is: When will the Panthers make the playoffs?
That’s the question facing Carolina’s season as it heads into the playoffs.
The Hurricanes are expected to win the Coastal Division, which would allow them to reach the Super Bowl.
But Carolina’s playoff hopes hinge on the fact that it can score points.
They rank in the bottom five in offensive points allowed (3.67) and have been tied for the worst defense (0.69 points per pass attempt).
Carolina’s defense isn’t nearly as good as the Saints, but the Panthers do have a chance to make the Super 16 if they can overcome the issues on the offensive side of the ball, and improve their offensive play in the playoffs as a whole.