4 keys to victory for the Carolina Panthers at Texans in Week 3

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /
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Chuba Hubbard (Photo by Chris Keane/Getty Images)
Chuba Hubbard (Photo by Chris Keane/Getty Images) /

Carolina Panthers should turn Chuba Hubbard loose

Chuba Hubbard hasn’t exactly had the impact most expected from the fourth-round pick but that could all change in Week 3.

To say that the Houston Texans’ defense struggled to contain the Cleveland Browns run game would be an understatement. Both Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt took whatever they wanted, regularly finding themselves at the second level thanks to missed tackles and poor gap management.

This could be just the opportunity Hubbard has been waiting for to prove himself at the NFL level.

With Christian McCaffrey seemingly on the field for every snap, the Carolina Panthers desperately need Hubbard to show them something to convince them to keep him on the field more often. The former All-Pro simply can’t take this kind of beating all year and expect to be healthy for any kind of late playoff push.

During his college career, Hubbard was an absolute menace of a power back, lowering the shoulder and plowing over unprepared defenders for big yards after contact. The NFL is an entirely different beast though and the former Oklahoma State Cowboy, like most rookies, has had a bit of a rude awakening when trying to do the same at the next level.

With how the Texans tackled, or didn’t, in Week 2, a power-based runner like Hubbard is the perfect weapon to run out the clock and take long drives down the field to wear down the defense.

A tired defense is one that can be exploited.

This isn’t to say that McCaffrey isn’t capable of running between the tackles because he has proven that he is. However, any opportunity to let someone take a portion of the burden and beating should be jumped upon.

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Week 3 will be a game between two surprises and just the kind of test that the Panthers need. A game to prove they belong among the best in the league in 2021 and that their fast start is more than a fluke.