3 crucial matchups that will decide Carolina Panthers vs. Texans in Week 8

The Carolina Panthers have to win in Week 8...

Bryce Young
Bryce Young / Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
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What matchups are worth following closely when the Carolina Panthers welcome C.J. Stroud and the Houston Texans in Week 8?

Well at least the Carolina Panthers didn't lose this week. But it still feels like it anyway.

One good thing did come from the bye week. The Panthers finally decided enough was enough and handed over play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Thomas Brown. Whether this will prove to be a wise decision remains to be seen, but something had to be done.

The offense has struggled mightily, even if they are currently leading the NFC South in points per game. The simple fact is that most of those points were scored in garbage time and the opposition played soft - a side effect of how bad things have been otherwise.

On defense, things don't look much better after Yetur Gross-Matos, who had finally begun to show results, was put on injured/reserve with a hamstring injury as well as Jeremy Chinn. This leaves an already battered defense looking even deeper to try and find bodies to fill those holes.

Week 8 is a battle of teams headed in very different directions that will forever be linked by the 2023 NFL Draft. The Houston Texans are a team on the rise with C.J. Stroud proving all the doubters wrong early in his career with a truly spectacular start to the season. Whereas the Panthers are decidedly not on the rise in any true way.

It will be interesting to see just what comes of this game. But what are some matchups that deserve extra attention?