No. 3: Week 3 — Texans vs. Panthers (Thursday Night Football)
The Carolina Panthers don’t figure to be hot contenders for a playoff berth this season, and putting their faith in former New York Jets flameout quarterback Sam Darnold to helm the franchise for the foreseeable future isn’t exactly an endorsement.
Even if Darnold eventually finds his groove en route to resurrecting his career, it’s not likely to take place early in the season.
So it’s a good thing Houston gets to host Carolina in Week 3 in a prime-time setting.
Granted, it’s Thursday Night Football. But that actually opens up a better chance for the Texans, too, as the Panthers will be traveling from a crucial NFC South showdown with the New Orleans Saints that’ll have a lot more implication and interest than this non-conference matchup at NRG Stadium.
A possible trap game for Carolina, plus the short week and being the road team, opens up a very real shot at Houston pulling off a win in Week 3.