Carolina Panthers vs. Houston Texans Preview

The Panthers will head to Houston on Sunday, Sept 29 to face the Houston Texans in Week 4 of the 2019 NFL season.

The all-time series between the two teams is tied 2-2, the Panthers have won the last two matches, and are eager to take the lead.

The last time the two teams played, was in 2015 and the last time the Panthers visited Houston was in 2011, in which both games the Panthers won by seven points.

The Panthers come into Week 4 with one win last week against the Arizona Cardinals, and two losses. While Houston has two wins against the Jaguars and the Chargers in weeks two and three, and one loss to the New Orleans Saints in the week one game.

Carolina starting quarterback Cam Newton was sidelined last week with a foot injury, so back up quarterback Kyle Allen made his second career start on Sunday and his first NFL start in his hometown stadium.

Christian McCaffrey has 59 carries for 318 yards rushing, and DJ Moore has posted 17 receptions for 271 yards so far this season.  On the other side of the ball, Donte Jackson leads the team with two interceptions and Mario Addison has recorded 3.5 sacks.  Rookie kicker Joey Slye has recorded an impressive eight of eight PAT and seven of eight field goal attempts.

In his second career game as starting quarterback, Allen started his 2019 season statistics off with 19 of 26 completed passes for 261 yards and four touchdowns, with a 144.4 rating.  Allen is the second quarterback of the Super Bowl Era with six-plus touchdowns without any interceptions in first two games; Marcus Mariota is the other.

Running back Christian McCaffrey recorded 188 scrimmage yards, 153 of them rushing and 35 receiving yards with a rush touchdown in Week 3 against the Miami Dolphins.

McCaffrey is 100+ yards in the last 10 of 12 games, with 488 total yards and seven touchdowns (four rushing and three receiving) in four games versus AFC opponents in 2018.

Tight End Greg Olsen led the team last week with six catches for 75 yards and two touchdowns.  That was his fifth game two plus touchdowns, and Olsen is one of two NFC tight ends with 15+ receptions and 200+ receiving yards in this season.

Wide Receiver Curtis Samuel recorded a touchdown catch last week and is aiming for his third game in a row on the road with at least one receiving touchdown.  Wide receiver DJ Moore also recorded three receiving touchdowns last week in the victory of Miami.

On the defensive side of the ball, Mario Addison tied his career high last week with three sacks.  Addison has four and a half sacks in the last four games on the road and is going for his third game in a row with at least one.

Linebacker Luke Kuechly is credited with ten tackles against Miami and leads the NFL with 36 tackles so far this season.  Rookie linebacker/defensive end Brian Burns recorded a sack last week and is going for his third game in a row with at least one himself.  Christian Miller also recorded two career sacks, his first, in Week 3.  Defensive end Bruce Irvin will make his debut with the Panthers Sunday against Houston. Irvin had been sidelined with a hamstring injury the first three weeks of the season.

Coach Ron Rivera had not elaborated on the injury list for this week as of Thursday and said final calls would probably not be made until Friday or Saturday. This was after several players missed practice this week including Donte Jackson, Kawaan Short, Trai Turner, and Marquis Haynes drawing speculation of how healthy the team would be for Sunday’s matchup.

The Panthers released their injury report on Friday, listing Jackson, Short, Haynes as questionable for Sunday’s game, and ruled out Turner and of course, Newton.

On the other side of the field, the Houston Texans come into Week 4 with two wins and one loss against the Saints in their season opener and look to extend their win column in the matchup against the Panthers.

Quarterback Deshaun Watson has recorded 61 of 93 completed passes for 77 yards and six touchdowns with one intercepted pass so far this season. Watson is assisted by Carlos Hyde who has rushed for 40 of 102 yards this season, and Deandre Hopkins who has received 19 catches for 218 yards.

Whitney Mercilus leads the defense with four sacks and one interception, and kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn has successfully kicked eight of nine extra points and two of three field goal kicks this season.

Watson comes into Week 4 after a strong week in week 3.  He recorded 351 scrimmage yards, with three touchdowns and no picks.

It was also Watson’s first career game with 300+ yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions, and he became the fourth fastest to 50 passing touchdowns (26 games) in the Superbowl era.

Watson has 607 pass yards, five passing touchdowns, and three rushing scores in the past two games against NFC opponents.

Running back Carlos Hyde was credited with a rush touchdown last week and has recorded 100+ scrimmage yards in the two of four games at home against an NFC team.  Duke Johnson is credited with 2,225 receiving yards since enter the league in 2015, which is the most among running backs.

Deandre Hopkins received six catches for 67 yards in Week 3 and is looking for his seventh in a row with five-plus catches.

Hopkins has 405 receiving yards and three touchdowns in the last four game against NFC opponents.  Wide receiver Kenny Stills led the team last week with a season high record of 89 yards and is going for his third game in a row with a touchdown vs the NFC.

\Tight end Darren Fells also contributed to the Texans’ win last week when he caught his eleventh career touchdown pass.  Jordan Akins also had his first two career receiving touchdowns in week three.

On the other side of the ball, defensive end J.J. Watt recorded two sacks last week for his 25th career game with two or more.

Defensive tackle DJ Reader posted one and half sacks last week, and linebacker Whitney Mercilus had a sack and forced fumble last week.  The only player in the NFL with two plus forced fumbles, sacks, and interception this season, and his going for his fourth game in a row with at least one sack.

The Texans are the overall favored team to win this matchup. ESPN’s Football Power Index gives the Panthers a 24.4 percent chance of winning the game, but if Kyle Allen and the offensive team bring the same energy to New Orleans as they did Arizona last week, and the defense stops Watson and Hopkins, a Panthers upset is definitely in the realm of possibility.




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