3 reasons the Carolina Panthers should beat the Texans in Week 3

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule and Joe Brady
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule and Joe Brady /
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Carolina Panthers
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87. NFL Network. Thursday, September 23. 10. 2-0. 1-1. Panthers -8.0. 8.20 PM ET

Here’s why the Carolina Panthers should beat the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium in Week 3 of the 2021 NFL season.

After dominating the New Orleans Saints in Week 2, the Carolina Panthers are off to their first 2-0 start since 2017. Next on the docket is the Houston Texans, who got off to a much better opening with Tyrod Taylor than most expected.

Houston beat the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 1 and led for much of the first half against the Cleveland Browns before Taylor exited with a hamstring injury.

The Texans have already ruled Taylor out for Thursday’s game, meaning that rookie quarterback Davis Mills will make his first career start against Carolina. Despite some speculation, Houston has also indicated that Deshaun Watson will remain inactive as he faces a plethora of sexual assault allegations.

Without Watson or Taylor, the Panthers are heavily favored to win the game, despite having to travel halfway across the country on a short week.

A victory would give Carolina its first 3-0 start in six years and would keep it undefeated ahead of favorable matchups with the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, and Atlanta Falcons.

Sure it’s still very early in the season, but if the Panthers can win on Thursday and then take at least three of the five games following, the postseason would certainly appear attainable.

One of the brightest spots during Carolina’s first two games has been the play of quarterback Sam Darnold. The Panthers acquired the former third-overall pick this offseason, and so far the return has been exactly what they hoped for.

Through two games Darnold has completed 50 of 73 passes (68.5 percent) for 584 yards and three touchdowns. More importantly, he has thrown just one interception.

The abundance of offensive playmakers has no doubt aided in Darnold’s transition, and that stable of talent should continue to pay dividends when the team travels to Houston on Thursday night.

With that being said, here are three reasons why the Panthers will beat the Texans in Week 3.