CHARLOTTE – The Panthers return from the bye week to host the Texans.
Carolina (0-6, 0-2 NFC South) hosts the Houston Texans (3-3, 1-1 AFC South) at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday for a 1 p.m. game. The matchup will be televised on FOX.
The Panthers are 4-2 all-time against the Texans, including a 1-1 record at home. The Panthers won their last matchup against Houston, 24-9, on the road in 2021. More on the series history can be found here.
Here's what to know about the Texans:
Coming off a win over the Saints, bye week
Like the Panthers, the Texans are coming off a Week 7 bye week before this Sunday's matchup. Houston went into its weekend off with a win over New Orleans, 20-13, in Week 6.
The Texans were outgained by the Saints on offense by a sizable margin, putting up 297 yards of total offense to New Orleans' 430, and won after a game-ending interception crushed a late New Orleans rally.
Houston linebacker Blake Cashman pressured Derek Carr as he threw an interception to cornerback Steven Nelson, giving Nelson his third on the season and sealing the Texans' third win.
Rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud, selected second overall by Houston in this year's draft, threw for 199 yards and two touchdowns in the win. It was his least productive day of the season in terms of yardage and completion percentage (13-of-27, 48.1 percent), and he threw his first career interception – though it didn't end in a turnover as wide receiver Nico Collins punched the ball out from New Orleans linebacker Zack Baun, and offensive lineman Tytus Howard recovered it. The ensuing drive resulted in a Houston touchdown.
"With C.J., it's the same, it's resiliency," head coach DeMeco Ryans said in an article posted to the team's website. "Even though he throws his first interception of his career - and I mean can't say enough about Nico (Collins) first, and his effort, his mindset to go and get the ball back in that situation - and the resiliency of our offense just to, no matter what happened, bad things happen, but you don't let that affect the next play. They went down and drove on them and scored right there. I think that was the turning point of the game for us and on offense."
Stroud leading the offense
Stroud has gotten off to a strong start in his first year, leading the NFL's 12th-most productive offense (2,084 yards through six games) and fourth-most productive passing offense, with 1,551 passing yards. He has thrown nine touchdowns and just one interception – the one against New Orleans that didn't result in a turnover – and has completed 59.6 percent of his passes this season.
Collins is Stroud's leading target, with 547 yards on 29 catches with three touchdowns. Wide receiver Robert Woods and tight end Dalton Schultz have both totaled more than 200 yards this year, as Schultz has also caught three touchdowns this year.
Wide receiver Tank Dell is set to return in Week 8, according to the team's website, after he missed Week 6 while in concussion protocol. He's returning to practice this week, which is positive news for Houston, as his 324 receiving yards rank second on the team.
The Texans haven't found as much success in the run game, ranked 25th in the league. Running back Dameon Pierce has 281 rushing yards with two touchdowns this season, followed by Devin Singletary with 153 yards.
A look at the defense
The Texans have held their opponents to the eighth-fewest points in the league (18.8 per game) but fall to 25th in yardage (354 yards per game), as they're around the middle of the league in rushing defense and toward the bottom half in passing defense.
Linebacker Henry To'oTo'o leads the team in tackles with 45, Nelson leads in interceptions with three, defensive end Jonathan Greenard's 3.5 sacks lead the team, and eight players have forced one fumble, the most on the team.
Among the more intriguing players to watch on the Texans' defense is rookie defensive end Will Anderson, the former Alabama player drafted third overall (just behind Stroud) in this year's draft. He has put up 24 tackles with eight quarterback hits in his first six NFL games.