Thursday Night Football features a battle of NFC South versus AFC South as the Carolina Panthers (2-0) take on the Houston Texans (1-1). The Texans will host this one at NRG Stadium, with kickoff scheduled for 8:20 pm ET.
Carolina has impressed through their first two games of the season. After beating the New York Jets 19-14 in Week 1, they followed that up with a 26-7 win over the New Orleans Saints last Sunday. They will travel for their first road game on a short week Thursday.
After a 37-21 victory over the Jaguars in their opener, the Texans came back to reality as they lost 31-21 on the road to the Browns last weekend. The loss wasn’t just on the scoreboard as they also lost their starting quarterback, Tyrod Taylor, to a hamstring injury.
The Panthers are a heavy favorite despite playing on the road. They are -405 to win while the Texans’ moneyline sits at +320. The spread features Houston +7.5 (-102), and the over/under for total points is 43.5.
Despite their 2-0 start, the Panthers still have just the third-best odds of winning the NFC South at +550. The Texans are +2100 to win the AFC South.
In terms of the Super Bowl, the Panthers are +5500 to win it all while the Texans are +42000.
By The Numbers
Carolina has played well as of late as they are 4-1 against the spread in their last five, and they are 7-0 against the spread in their last seven road games.
While still early, the Panthers lead the league in scoring defense as they are allowing just 10.5 points per game to opponents.
In their last seven games, Houston is now 1-6 overall, but they are 4-1 against the spread over their last five games.
Heading into Week 3, the Texans rank tied for eighth in scoring, averaging 29 points per game.
Carolina Winning With Defense
After scoring 38 points in their opener, the Carolina Panthers’ defense was able to shut down Jameis Winston and the Saints last weekend. Through two games, the Panthers’ defense certainly seems legitimate.
Current defensive leaders for the Panthers include Shaq Thompson (14 tackles), Haason Reddick (three sacks), and a trio of defensive backs with an interception each.
Offensively, the team is led under center by Sam Darnold. On the season, he has thrown for 584 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception.
The ground game has been led by Christian McCaffrey, who has 170 yards and a touchdown to this point rushing. Through the air, McCaffrey has14 receptions for 154 yards.
Texans Suffer Huge Blow With Tyrod Taylor’s Injury
After winning their first week, the Texans were trying to upset the Cleveland Browns in Week 2, but an injury to starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor derailed those plans. Taylor, who had to leave with a hamstring injury, is expected to miss up to a month, and backup Davis Mills will be starting in his place.
Through just a little bit into the second game, Taylor has thrown for 416 yards and three touchdowns. After replacing him last Sunday, Davis Mills came in and threw for 102 yards, a touchdown, and an interception.
While Mills is a step down from Taylor, the Texans’ organization has already said that they will not be turning to Deshaun Watson to work under center.
On the ground, Mark Ingram has been the leading rusher for Houston. He has carried the ball 40 times this season for 126 yards and a touchdown.
Take Panthers To Win And Cover
Despite an impressive first two weeks of football, the jury is still out on the Carolina Panthers and how legitimate of a contender they can be this season.
While there is uncertainty regarding Carolina, there is still a whole lot more confidence surrounding them as opposed to a Davis Mills-led Texans team.
This game might get ugly at times, but at the end of the day, take Carolina to both win and cover the 7.5-point spread.