Breaking News: Predictions For Week 8 Matchup Vs Panthers

NFL Draft fans couldn’t write a better script for this Carolina Panthers vs. Houston Texans Week 8 showdown.

That’s because it pits the first two players selected in the 2023 draft — QB Bryce Young of the Panthers against QB C.J. Stroud of the Texans. It may take a few seasons before it becomes clear whether Carolina made the right choice. But Texans fans are feeling pretty good about their guy already.

C.J. Stroud has looked every bit worth the second overall pick; he’s thrown for 1,660 yards, good for 10th in the NFL. He’s got nine touchdown passes, and more impressively, thrown just a single interception.

Bryce Young has faced struggles on a Panthers team lean on talent, but has looked more comfortable with each week as a starter. Worth watching on Sunday is how the offense performs with offensive coordinator Thomas Brown taking over play-calling duties from head coach Frank Reich. Perhaps it unlocks another bump in improvement from Young.

Will Stroud put more distance between himself and Young this Sunday, or can the number-one pick get his team into the win column for the first time in 2023? Here are your Texans Week 8 predictions to answer that question.

First three TD passing day from C.J. Stroud

The Texans average 258.5 passing yards a game, good for fifth in the NFL. Even scarier for the Panthers is the idea of the passing attack getting better. But that’s absolutely on the table, with the news that WR Tank Dell is set to return to the lineup after missing Week 6 while in concussion protocol.

Dell still ranks second on the team in receiving yards, behind WR Nico Collins. The Texans also make great use of TE Dalton Schultz in the red zone, evidenced by his three touchdown catches so far this season.

The bye week gave the Texans time to get healthy and work on improving their aerial attack even more. It should result in a big day for Stroud, who has thrown two TDs in four games but hasn’t hit a hat trick yet.

Houston Texans, C.J. Stroud, Dameon Pierce, Tank Dell

Devin Singletary outrushes Dameon Pierce

Let’s caveat this one with the notion that the Texans aren’t very good at running the football. And with the way Stroud and Co. are slinging the pigskin around the field, why even bother? But alas.

Dameon Pierce was expected to be the Texans’ cowbell back this season, the main guy for Stroud to lean on. Singletary was signed to add a pass-catching dynamic out of the backfield. But a shift has occurred recently, and it’s a trend we see continuing.

While Pierce has received double-digit carries in every game this season, he’s been largely ineffective. The second-year back is averaging a paltry 2.9 yards per carry. Singletary got 12 carries against the New Orleans Saints, his biggest load of the season. He made 58 yards out of them, while Pierce turned 13 carries into 34 yards.

Singletary is averaging a full yard more per carry than Pierce is. It’s time to give the free agent addition a bigger piece of the workload on a more consistent basis.

Stroud and Texans keep Young and Panthers winless

Carolina probably won’t go winless this season; it’s pretty tough to do, honestly. But they won’t enter the win column this weekend.

Bryce Young has already undergone struggles, and now, he has to build chemistry with a new offensive play-caller. Maybe they hit the ground running, and maybe Young regresses in the interim.

The Texans, meanwhile, have won three of their last four games. They are coming off a bye week, well-rested and maybe with some tricks up their sleeves. And most importantly, Stroud already looks comfortable as a NFL quarterback.

At 3-3, this young Texans team can take a major step, get over .500, and seriously start thinking about making a playoff run. They won’t let that opportunity slip through their fingers.

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