3 reasons the Carolina Panthers can beat the Cowboys in Week 4

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Taylor Moton
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Taylor Moton /
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Carolina Panthers
(Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports) C.J. Henderson /

The Carolina Panthers defense is gaining new talent

The Carolina Panthers may have beaten the Houston Texans on the scoreboard in Week 3, but they left with plenty of losses. Superstar running back Christian McCaffrey exited with a hamstring injury and will miss at least this weekend and next, but just as important was the loss of rookie cornerback Jaycee Horn.

Horn had been a key member of the Panthers’ early defensive success, having only allowed just two catches for 18 yards in three games. Carolina valued the South Carolina product high enough to select him over a potential franchise quarterback back in April’s NFL draft, so he will no doubt be missed in the secondary.

Fortunately for the Panthers, they have reinforcements coming at the position.

Offseason signing A.J. Bouye will make his season debut after being suspended for the first two games of 2021. Second-year player C.J. Henderson was acquired earlier this week in a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Bouye is a former Pro Bowler who should provide an important veteran presence on a young Panthers defense and can presumably step into the starting role right away.

Henderson is an intriguing pickup, having been swapped for Dan Arnold and a draft pick, who was selected in the first round of last year’s draft. He struggled with injuries as a rookie in Jacksonville, but it’s clear that the Panthers believe in his potential.

Carolina has had the best pass defense in the NFL three weeks in, having allowed less than 150 yards per contest. The additions of Bouye and Henderson should give that unit an added boost, even with the loss of Horn.

Their meshing into a strong Panthers defense will be key on Sunday, especially against a high-octane aerial attack like the Cowboys possess.