Carolina Panthers vs. Houston Texans picks, predictions: Who wins NFL Week 3 game?

Jeremy Cluff
Arizona Republic

The Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans face off on Thursday in a Week 3 NFL game.

Which team will get the victory?

Check out these NFL Week 3 picks and predictions for the game, which can be seen at 5:20 p.m. MST time on NFL Network.

The Panthers are a 7.5-point favorite in the game.

More NFL Week 3 picks, predictions:

More:NFL Week 3 picks, predictions from The Arizona Republic

Fansided: Panthers 30, Texans 20

Aarron Van Buren writes: "This is going to depend on how much preparation Davis Mills gets on a short week for a red-hot Carolina Panthers team that is surprisingly 2-0 with Sam “seeing ghosts” Darnold. This won’t be a blowout loss for Houston, but Mills will struggle a bit seeing how this is going to be a big game with the national spotlight on him for the first time in his young career. There’s also the fact that it all may just be beginner’s luck for Darnold in Carolina so far. Beating the Saints the way they did is impressive. However, their offense struggled against the New York Jets in Week 1. We’ll see which team trots onto the field of Carolina on Thursday Night."

More:NFL power rankings: Arizona Cardinals climb after Week 2 win over Minnesota Vikings

Play Picks: Panthers will cover against Texans

Brian Sausa writes: "The Week 3 schedule kicks off with the Panthers playing their first road game of the season against Houston. despite being the visitors, Carolina is around a four-point favorite for this game at most sites with the total set in the mid-40s. Away teams are at a natural disadvantage on Thursday night because they must travel and get one less day in an already condensed week to prepare. That said, this is one spot where the home team just isn’t equipped to deal with what the road team will throw at it, regardless of the day of the week. The Texans were excellent at home in Week 1 but the Panthers are a sizable step up from Jacksonville for no other reason but Christian McCaffrey. The Houston run defense is putrid and CMC is going to take huge advantage of that. If the Texans decide to stack the box, Sam Darnold has the likes of D.J. Moore and the field-stretching Robby Anderson. McCaffrey is even Darnold’s safety valve in the pass game, so the Carolina offense is just too dynamic in our eyes."

Sportsnaut: Panthers 28, Texans 16

It writes: "If Houston can play some ball control on offense and force Sam Darnold into some interceptions, maybe hope exists for that elusive victory. But no, Darnold is in a much better situation than he was with the New York Jets, and should light up the Texans without much issue."

More:NFL Week 3 odds: Money lines, point spreads, over/under for every game

Can Sam Darnold lead the Carolina Panthers to a win in Week 3 of the NFL season against the Houston Texans?

Sportsbookreview: Panthers will cover against Texans

Adam Walford writes: "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."

Top Bet: Panthers 24, Texans 20

It writes: "The Panthers are off to a great start. The addition of Sam Darnold continues to look like a great decision for Carolina, which is now 2-0 to start the season. The Panthers followed up their 19-14 win over the New York Jets in Week 1 with a 26-7 home victory last Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. Darnold is clearly more comfortable this time than when he was with the Jets, and it’s showing in his play. Against the Saints, Darnold passed for 305 yards and two touchdowns and interception on 26/38 completions. But the defense has also been solid for Carolina. The team had two defensive interceptions and sacked Jameis Winston four times a week after the Saints terrorized the Green Bay Packers. Darnold and company can sustain their momentum in Week 3 against Houston’s soft defense that has allowed 21 points in Week 1 and 31 in Week 2."

More:NFL Week 3 schedule, TV information for all 16 Week 3 NFL games

Sportnaut: Panthers 35, Texans 24

Matt Fitzgerald writes: "This may be one of the Texans’ more winnable games, but Carolina isn’t going to lose in Houston. There’s too much skill position talent on the Panthers’ side for this one to result in a loss. It would be a trap game for Carolina amid a 2-0 start if it wasn’t for Houston QB Tyrod Taylor‘s questionable status on a short week. Taylor suffered a hamstring injury in Week 2."

FiveThirtyEight.com: Panthers have a 76% win probability

The site gives the Texans a 24% win probability.

ESPN: Panthers have a 60.9% chance to win

The site's Football Power Index gives the Texans a 38.8% chance to pick up the victory.

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Reach Jeremy Cluff at jeremy.cluff@arizonarepublic.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jeremy_Cluff.

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