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NFL Week 3 Best Bets: Panthers vs. Texans Thursday Night Football Picks and Predictions

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NFL Week 3 Best Bets: Panthers vs. Texans Thursday Night Football Picks and Predictions
Quarterback Sam Darnold #14 of the Carolina Panthers. Mike Comer/Getty Images/AFP

It’s safe to say there are a few question marks coming into this week’s Thursday night game. Things are looking good on the Panthers’ side of the ball, but who will start at QB for the Texans? Let’s see the NFL odds.

Carolina Panthers vs. Houston Texans

Thursday, September 23, 2021 – 8:20 PM EDT at NRG Stadium

Will Watson Make a Surprise Appearance?

The Tyrod Taylor led Texans have had a surprisingly good start to the season, dismantling the Jaguars and pushing the Cleveland Browns closer than expected in the first half of their game this weekend, but an injury just after he’d rushed in for a TD which took the lead leaves the Texans desperately thin at QB.

Rookie Davis Mills came in to finish the game, going 8 from 18 for 102 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT. It was a decent performance against a very good defense, but it now leaves the Texans with a dilemma. Do they activate Deshaun Watson to either start or provide backup with no other QB on the roster?

Texans head coach David Culley was asked about Watsons' availability and just replied with “We’ll see.” That doesn’t help us and even if he is activated we don’t know if the league would allow him to play with investigations ongoing into sexual assault allegations.

I don’t think they will have him for this game, to it seems things are too strained and frankly, the Texans don’t really want to win this year anyway, so playing one of the best QBs in the league wouldn’t make sense, a better bet will be them bringing a veteran to act as backup for this week.

Head coach David Culley of the Houston Texans. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images/AFP

Surely the Panthers Carry On Their Unbeaten Start Then?

The best bookmakers have the Panthers coming in as around touchdown favorites at the moment, I assume with the expectation that they are facing Davis Mills, although after they stuffed the Saints this weekend I would have them around that line no matter who is under center.

It was a remarkable performance from the Panthers who allowed just 128 yards and 6 first downs from a covid and injury-hit Saints side without many of their coaches and several key players on defense. It might be a true representation of those two teams but I was high on the Panthers coming into the season and they’ve done nothing to dampen my hopes for them this season.

Davis Mills #10 of the Houston Texans plays. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images/AFP

Sam Darnold is doing what he needs to do under center, Christian McCaffrey is back and looking like he’s never been off, finishing with nearly 140 combined yards and a TD from his 29 touches. DJ Moore has had 19 targets in their two games so far and found the endzone again, and they’re spreading the ball around well behind the two stars.

So, Not Exactly a Thursday Night Thriller Then?

Well, probably not, but I thought that last week and we had drama until the very end of that game with the total flying over the number. The points total here is very low at between 43 and 44, so while I think the Texans will struggle against an up-and-coming Panthers team, I would still have to lean over.

I was high on the Panthers coming into the season, I think they’ll finish second behind the Bucs in the NFC South, and I think they’ll retain their unbeaten start to the season and put the pressure on the Saints in the division. It looks like this line is only going to move one way so get on early if you can. Panthers win and cover take this into consideration for your NFL picks.

NFL Pick: (visit our Sportsbook Review)

*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.