The Carolina Panthers will travel to Houston to take on the Texans on Sunday in a Week 4 matchup that could set the tone for the rest of the season for both teams. The Panthers are 1-2, while the Texans are 2-1 so far this year.
Carolina will be without quarterback Cam Newton once again this week as Kyle Allen gets his second start of the season. The young quarterback looked very impressive in his first outing against the Arizona Cardinals last week, throwing for 261 yards and four touchdowns with zero interceptions. Between this year and a few starts last year, Allen is yet to throw an interception in the NFL with six touchdowns.
The Panthers are currently averaging 390.7 yards and 26.3 points a game. They are allowing 318 yards and 23.3 points per game. In addition to Cam Newton, the Panthers have five players, including Greg Olsen, Bruce Irvin, and Gerald McCoy all listed as questionable.
Olsen has been the Panthers’ leading receiver so far this season with 16 receptions, 221 yards and two touchdowns. The veteran should act as a safe, reliable target for their young backup quarterback.
With Newton out again, the Panthers would like to rely more on star running back Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey has 59 carries so far this year with 318 yards and three touchdowns. If he can post another 100-yard game this week, it will take the pressure off Allen and keep Deshaun Watson and the Texans offense off the field.
Starting To Roll
The Texans enter this Week 4 matchup at 2-1 after an exciting win over the Los Angeles Chargers last week. Their only loss so far this year was in a thrilling Week 1 game against the Saints in New Orleans. It looked like the Texans had pulled off the win with a late touchdown pass from Watson, but the Saints were able to battle back and get a field goal as time expired to steal the win.
Houston has looked good so far, being just that field goal away from a 3-0 record despite Watson being the most sacked quarterback in the league with 12 already this season. With players like Luke Kuechly on the other side of the ball this week, they will have to find a way to protect their star if they want to grab their third win of the season.
Watson has thrown for 778 yards and six touchdowns over the first three games with just one interception. After losing Lamar Miller to injury, Carlos Hyde has been their leading rusher this year with 192 yards and a touchdown. It’s no surprise that their leading receiver has been Pro-Bowler DeAndre Hopkins, who has 19 catches, 218 yards and two touchdowns this year.
The Texans have played close games each of the first three weeks, and their stats reflect it. They have posted 22.7 points per game while allowing 20.7. Houston’s offense has averaged 374.3 yards while giving up 408.3. They will need to tighten up their defense this week if they want to avoid another close game.
What To Expect
I think this will be another fun game to watch this week; It should come down to the wire, and we will see which quarterback can prevail under pressure. I like the Texans to win a close one again and improve to 3-1.
Allen should put the Panthers in a position to win, but Watson has shown he can win the close ones before even while being pressured all game long.