3 keys to victory for the Carolina Panthers vs. Texans in Week 8

It's now or never for the Carolina Panthers...
Hayden Hurst
Hayden Hurst / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
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What are the keys to a potential first victory of 2023 for the Carolina Panthers in Week 8 against the Houston Texans?

The Houston Texans and Carolina Panthers will always be connected by the fact that both were expansion teams founded in recent memory. Now another thing will always bind the two organizations - the selections that each team made in this year's NFL Draft.

With the first pick - after a rather large effort to persuade the NFL world otherwise - the Panthers selected Bryce Young and left the Texans free to pick C.J Stroud at No. 2. A decision that was criticized at the time and continues to be today after what early returns have shown. But more on that later.

Beyond what binds these teams together, the Panthers need a win in a bad way. The fanbase is growing more impatient by the day and the seat under head coach Frank Reich is beginning to get a little bit toasty in recent weeks.

If something doesn't change soon, it could see this organization go through yet another massive overhaul in the offseason. That is exactly what they don't need.

These teams are on opposite trajectories this season and there are a lot of reasons for this. But how could the Panthers flip the script in Week 8?

Carolina Panthers must make C.J Stroud look like a rookie

Rookie quarterbacks make mistakes and struggle to gain the trust of teammates who have been in the league for much longer. However, C.J. Stroud has not had any of these issues. Even doing so much as to set the record for most passes to begin a career without an interception.

The Carolina Panthers must use deception and pre-snap movement to confuse Stroud, pressure to keep the rookie off balance, and anything to try and fluster the young quarterback into a bad decision.

With the amount of injuries the Panthers are dealing with on defense, they need all the help they can get. Things like disguised pressure, corner blitzes, and false alignments might just give the team that extra second to make the play.