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Carolina Panthers v Miami Dolphins

by Sharon Thorsland

The Panthers return from their bye week to take on the Texans at Bank of America stadium on Sunday. They’re still missing a bunch of guys on defense due to injury, but the good news is right guard Austin Corbett is back and will start the game. No doubt all eyes will be on the quarterbacks in this one, though. Bryce Young and CJ Stroud went 1-2 in the NFL draft in April, and while the Panthers have yet to win with Young this season, the Texans have gone 3-3 behind Stroud, who has thrown for 1660 yards and nine touchdowns with just one interception.

Stroud and first year head coach Demeco Ryans have this Texans team clicking, they’ve won three of their last four games. Their passing attack ranks fifth in the NFL and features a trio of talented receivers in Nico Collins, Robert Woods and rookie Tank Dell. They’ll face a Panther secondary that has been ravaged by injuries this season but gets a boost this week with the return of starting safety Xavier Woods.

Much like the Panthers, the Texans have seen multiple injuries across the offensive line, four starters have spent time on IR. That hasn’t helped their run game, which is managing just 89 yards a contest, that’s 25th in the NFL behind Dameon Pierce and Devin Singletary.

The Texans defense has been solid this season, they give up a lot of yards but are stingy when it counts, allowing just under 19 points per game. They are having difficulty getting to the quarterback though, they’ve managed just nine sacks, that’s dead last in the league. Defensive end Jonathan Greenard has 3.5 of those. And rookie Will Anderson has been promising, the former Alabama standout has eight quarterback hits and has blocked a field goal. Rookie linebacker Henry To’o To’o leads the team in tackles.

The Texans rank near the bottom of the league in passing defense. Three starters in the secondary are out with injuries, so veteran safety Jimmy Ward holds down the back end along with Pro Bowl cornerback Shaquill Griffin. Veteran cornerback Steven Nelson has three interceptions. “They fly to the football, they attack the football, they try to get it out,” said Panther receiver Adam Thielen. “They have guys at each level that are playing really well.”

The Panthers will definitely have to play well to beat this Texans team. They’ve been able to do that in the past, they’ve won the past four matchups against Houston.