Week 2 is in the books, so now we turn our attention to Week 3. The week will kick off with the Carolina Panthers traveling to Houston to take on the Texans at NRG Stadium. This interconference matchup marks the 6th time these two teams have met. The Panthers lead the series 3-2, winning their last 3 meetings. Carolina is 2-0 heading into this matchup for the first time since 2017 and will be looking to advance their record to 3-0 for the first time in 6 years.
In week 2, Panthers Quarterback Sam Darnold threw for his fifth-career game of 300 or more yards. He threw for two touchdowns earning a 99.1 rating. Darnold will look to throw for over 275 yards for the third consecutive game for the first time in his NFL career. Panthers Wide Receiver DJ Moore, who had 8 receptions for 79 yards and a touchdown, was Darnold’s top target last week and will likely be the same this week. Running Back Christian McCaffery has been a man on fire. He holds the league’s best 324 yards from scrimmage (170 rushing and 154 receiving) as he enters the week 3 matchup. He is an animal on Thursday nights as he’s tallied 255 yards from scrimmage and 4 touchdowns in 3 appearances.
The Panthers’ defense has been off and on but capable. Veteran Linebacker Haason Reddick has recorded 1.5 sacks in his first two games with the Panthers. Defensive end Brian Burns had a sack last week; and will look for his fifth consecutive game with a sack, which would tie him for the second-longest active streak in the league. 2021’s 8th pick overall, Jaycee Horn came up with his first career interception last week and will look to pull his second against the Texans.
Houston’s rookie Quarterback Davis Mills is set to make his first NFL start on Thursday night. He was selected in the 3rd round of the 2021 NFL Draft and made his NFL debut last week following an injury to Tryrod Taylor. Mills chunked up 102 yards and a touchdown. Veteran Wide Receiver Brandon Cooks led the team with 9 catches last week for 78 yards and a touchdown. He has a touchdown in 3 of his last 4 games. Running Back Mark Ingram had two touchdowns (1 receiving and 1 rushing) in last Thursday night appearance and currently leads all active running backs in career rushing yards and touchdowns with 7,540 yards and 63 touchdowns. Running Back David Johnson, in 4 career appearances on Thursday night, has 487 yards from scrimmage and 3 touchdowns. Texans Linebacker Zach Cunningham led the team’s defense, and his 176 tackles since 2020 are the most in the NFL. Linebacker Christian Kirksey recovered a fumble last week and is just 1 of 3 players with an interception and fumble recovery this season, while Safety Justin Reid had an interception and forced a fumble last week and is 1 of 2 players with an interception in each game through week 2 this season.
*Source – The National Football League