Schuyler Callihan: Panthers 23, Texans 13
It might be the Houston Texans. It might be Davis Mills at quarterback. However, this is a short week and a very quick turnaround following the Panthers' win over the New Orleans Saints. I don't believe this game will ever be in doubt for Carolina but I see Houston keeping this close throughout. The Panthers come into this one a little beat up in the trenches and I'm not so sure that the offense will feature Christian McCaffrey a whole lot. Carolina just wants to get in, get out with a W and leave Houston healthy. They have no interest in trying to win this game by margin.
Jason Hewitt: Panthers 28, Texans 10
The Houston Texans are going to be a mess with Davis Mills at quarterback. Let’s also remember the fact that Mills is about to face this Panthers defense on a short week. I don’t see Carolina’s ferocious pass rush slowing down any time soon, either. Houston’s o-line is not better than New Orleans’ line, and we saw what happened last week. It’s a perfect storm for another defensive masterclass from Phil Snow’s crew. I believe we’ll see more of the same from Darnold and the rest of the offense. I could even see McCaffrey or any of the receivers having monster games. This Texans secondary is vulnerable and injured at the moment, which heavily favors Joe Brady and company. I see the Panthers absolutely dominating Houston on prime-time television this Thursday.
Jeff Haseley: Panthers 27, Texans 6
Houston has been sacked twice in two games so that could be a challenge but the Panthers' defense is up to the task. Davis Mills will have a difficult time against a Panthers team limiting opposing quarterbacks to a 62.0 quarterback rating. 13% of their plays on defense are punts. Let that sink in. I envision this being a statement game in front of a national audience where the offense, led by Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore doing their part while the defense befuddles Davis Mills into a game filled with rushed passes, mistakes, and turnovers. Carolina's pressure percentage (hurries, knockdowns, and sacks per dropback) is a league-high 44%. If that type of defense is unleashed on the rookie Mills it could be a long night. The Panthers win convincingly, 27-6.
Matt Welch: Panthers 28, Texans 3
Carolina’s defense is in a rhythm and will feast on Davis Mills. Hurried passes should turn into misthrows and interceptions for the Panthers. Offensively, Sam Darnold gets another chance to get some continuity going with his new receivers while Christian McCaffrey can pace things out. With a short week, it might be a good time to give CMC a little rest and bring rookie Chuba Hubbard along a little more. I expect a solid outing on both sides of the ball for Carolina.
Blake Johnson: Panthers 20, Texans 13
With the Texans missing QB Tyrod Taylor and having QB Davis Mills thrust into the starting role, I expect Houston to play alongside the clock here to try and drag out a win. I expect a lot of runs on first and second down by the Texans in an effort to control the clock and keep the ball out of the Panthers' hands. On a short week and traveling, no game is easy. I expect the Panthers to be able to control the game on the defensive side and do just enough on offense to escape H-town with a W and get ready for Dallas with a 3-0 record.
Matt Alquiza: Panthers 27, Texans 6
The Panthers assert their dominance early in the game and cruise to another easy victory. The defense proves (again) it’s not a fluke by shutting down Davis Mills like he’s Ryan Lindley in the 2014 playoffs ending the night with six more sacks and a pair of interceptions. Darnold has the offense in cruise control as they score a couple of touchdowns early in the game, and Chuba Hubbard carries the load in the second half as Christian McCaffrey gets some much-deserved rest.
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