Carolina Panthers vs. Houston Texans – NFL, Week 3 (2021)

By Dan Vasta in NFL
| September 22, 2021 5:09 am PDT

Houston pulled off a victory in their season opener, but getting several wins this year will be a challenge. We did see Jacksonville win their opener last year, and they failed to win another game the rest of the way.

The Texans still seem to be a few seasons away from being a relevant squad. Carolina is much closer, and they have the goods to be a pain in the backside for most NFC foes.

Many counted out Sam Darnold going into the year, even with respectable pieces. Robby Anderson has been a familiar target going back to their days with the Jets, but D.J. Moore is a next-level wideout. The offense has weapons good enough to be a playoff squad in the NFC South.

Carolina has not been lighting up the NFL world, but Christian McCaffrey will help out in that department. These two squads could struggle to put some points on the board in what has been some exhilarating national primetime thrillers thus far.

Here are the latest odds between these two for Week 3’s Thursday Night Football clash.

Panthers vs. Texans Odds

Panthers (-7.5)-109
Texans (+7.5)-111
Panthers to Win-360
Texans to Win+290
Over 43-110
Under 43-110

Carolina enters Texas as touchdown favorites on a short week, per the best sites for betting on the NFL.

The Texans are 1-3 in their past four home games in which they are 7 to 9.5 points underdogs. Houston has had a challenging slate to start the season, but Carolina could make matters even worse.

Oddly enough, Carolina is 4-5-1 against the spread in their past ten games as road favorites regardless of the point spread. The Panthers luckily have some momentum going into their Thursday night showdown.

It is time to dissect this game by looking at the keys to victory for both squads.

Why the Panthers Will Win

They probably didn’t need it, but the Panthers get a break with the Texans being forced to turn to a rookie quarterback.

Tyrod Taylor got hurt in week two, and he’ll miss this contest. Houston has chosen to bypass former franchise passer Deshaun Watson, and will roll with Davis Mills.

The Carolina defense has been one of the quicker ones in the league. The Panthers will likely take advantage of the young Davis Mills, which should set their offense up nicely.

Sam Darnold and his transformation have made this franchise a worthy playoff squad after a few weeks. Darnold has improved his play through two weeks. Taking care of the ball is critical in the NFL, but checking down and moving the sticks is just as important.

While they have plenty of work left, they are on track with games in September and October that are favorable.

The coaches deserve some kudos. So many struggling franchises have inconsistent leadership in the locker room and on the sidelines. That is not the case for Carolina, and perhaps that is why they are off to a fast start.

Christian McCaffrey has been electric when he has the ball in his hands, but there is speed everywhere on the field. The sign of a consistent squad is when there are not many weaknesses. The 2-0 Panthers are a team to be reckoned with, and they will continue to pile up the wins.

The defense has several youngsters, and a few of them have the potential to become stars. The Houston defense has struggled two weeks in, and Carolina should be able to put together a few scoring drives early and often.

Why the Texans Will Win

Tyrod Taylor is out (hamstring), so Davis Mills will have to play well. He was respectable against Cleveland in their 10-point loss.

Mills will be looking for Brandin Cooks early and often in this one. There is plenty of pressure on these two to matriculate the ball down the field. If they struggle, the entire team is doomed.

Cooks has been productive, and he can take the top off the defense and impact the game on one deep pass.

Mills will need to take care of the ball and allow the rushing attack to eat.

Mark Ingram and David Johnson will handle most of the workload. They are capable of moving the chains and owning the time of possession. Keeping the Carolina offense on the sidelines is vital.

The defense has some issues, but playing at home could get the crowd involved as well. As long as Mills can take care of the ball, Houston could surprise a few more teams this season.

Panthers vs. Texans Prediction

Carolina has the better offense thanks to a superior group of receivers and a star running back that has looked the part through two weeks. Sam Darnold has played outstanding and having Joe Brady and Matt Rhule as his coaches has helped.

The reason for optimism on the Panthers is due to their defensive talent. There is so much youth on this team that the future looks bright. A different youngster has stepped up every week.

The Texans had a great season opener. They were able to light up the scoreboard, but we may not see that happen often. Mills is the current Texan under center. The lack of a dominant rushing attack is concerning, and their secondary has given up way too many long gains.

If Houston wants to have a shot at pulling this off, they will need to win the turnover battle and hope their offense can start hot. I don’t foresee enough turnovers occurring.

Carolina has the better roster that could be ready to take that next step from potential dark horses to playoff threats. The Panthers will put together a few scoring drives early on, which will be too much to overcome for the Texans.

Panthers vs. Texans Pick

Carolina has the momentum to have a great start to their season. The value is on the Panthers, and they should be able to win this one without it coming down to the wire like the prior two TNF matchups.

If you were quick, you jumped at a Moneyline that was under -200 a few days ago before Tyrod Taylor was injured.

The spread is worth a look, but we have seen some backdoor covers lately. Taking the NFC South squad is the pick, but only straight up.

The Moneyline with the Panthers is the selection for Thursday night.

Pick
  • Panthers to Win
    -360

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