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With a rookie under center, it could be tough for these Texans to keep pace with these offensively rich Panthers, especially given a healthy Christian McCaffrey.
Carolina’s new quarterback Sam Darnold looked highly competent in Week 2 throwing for over three hundred yards and two touchdowns with a pick as his Panthers took down the New Orleans Saints, 26-7, offensive / defensive production that they will need to repeat in Houston if they expect to beat these Texans on Thursday Night Football.
Texans starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor suffered a hamstring injury in Week 2 and is now listed questionable for this TNF matchup with Carolina, so it could be up to his rookie backup Davis Mills to face the Panthers, but either way Houston’s defense must face RB Christian McCaffery who can hurt them on the ground or catching passes.
These two cross-conference rivals have met each other 5 times, with the Houston Texans winning 2 of the games and the Carolina Panthers winning the other 3 games.
Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold is having fun reinventing himself in Carolina now with 2 wins under his belt after throwing for three touchdowns and one interception in those games for 584 yards, completing 68.5 percent of his passes and looking like the player he was back at USC before the NY Jets.
Of course, the best news for the Carolina franchise is the healthy return of their dual-threat running back Christian McCaffrey, who in Week 2 alone carried the ball 24 times for 72 yards and a touchdown while catching 5 passes for another 65 yards.
The Panther’s front line must do a better job at protecting Darnold, though, with 3 sacks in two games already, and they must continue to open up those holes and creases for McCaffrey to slip through, especially on the road in Houston in front of a hostile crowd.
After having an extremely effective first half (10/11, 125 yards, TD) against the Cleveland Browns in Week 2, Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor injured his hamstring running the ball into the end zone and had to sit on the bench for the second half of his team’s eventual loss.
Now Taylor is listed as questionable for Week 3 and that leaves the job of quarterback up to his backup, rookie Davis Mills, who in the second half of the loss to the Browns completed just 8 of 18 passes for 102 yards, a touchdown, and an interception.
Now the question is whether Taylor will play in Week 3 or if it will be the rookie Mills, and some are even speculating it could be the ‘perfect’ opportunity for Deshaun Watson to return under center, although his off field legal matters make that seem highly unlikely.
Haason Reddick talks to the media after the game https://t.co/qncaTtWfya
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) September 19, 2021
Panthers linebacker Haason Reddick has posted a sack and a half and two quarterback hits in each of the first two team wins of this season along with a forced fumble and 7 total tackles with one of those for a loss.
For Carolina to come to Houston and beat the Texans, Reddick needs to continue his relentless attack on opposing quarterbacks, especially if it ends up being the rookie Mills under center for Houston.
Reddick’s fellow linebackers Shaq Thompson and Jermain Carter Jr. are also a defensive force to be reckoned with and they will need to keep Texans RB Mark Ingram in check in the middle of the field.
Rookie QB Davis Mills throws the first touchdown of his NFL career, a two-yard completion to WR Brandin Cooks.
— Houston Texans PR (@TexansPR) September 19, 2021
One of the bright spots of the 2021 season so far for the Texans is the emergence of Brandin Cooks as a true number one receiver, the veteran now in his eighth NFL season and playing for his fourth team overall.
In those seasons, Cooks has caught almost 500 passes for just over 7,000 yards, his best season in 2018 for Los Angeles Rams when he caught 80 balls for over 1,200 yards and 5 touchdowns, with 41 career touchdowns to his name so far.
Last week, cooks caught 9 passes against the Browns for 78 yards and a touchdown, and with his speed, he could do that or better against the Panthers secondary, but it could also depend on who will be throwing the football on Thursday, either a banged up Taylor or the rookie Mills.
|Panthers vs Texans Information|
|What||Carolina Panthers vs Houston Texans|
|Where||NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas|
|When||Thursday, September 23, 2021; 8:20 PM ET|
|How to watch||NFL Network|
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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