The Houston Texans can really disrupt the Carolina Panthers if this one position group succeeds.
As surprising as it may be, the Carolina Panthers roll into NRG Stadium on Thursday Night carrying a 2-0 record and a defense that shut down the New Orleans Saints team (who throttled Green Bay). As much pressure that’s on Davis Mills, there is a different position group that needs to have a big night.
The Houston Texans defensive line must be the ones to change the game. Carolina has faced two teams in consecutive weeks that don’t really have all that great defenses (New York Jets, Saints). It may seem obvious, but the more sacks the Texans have on Sam Darnold, their chances of winning are significantly better.
When Darnold is sacked ≥2 (2 or more) times in a game, his record drops to 11-20. In 40 career games for Darnold, he’s lost 77.5% of the time he’s been sacked twice or more. In fact, in games where Darnold has been blitzed more than 7 times, he carries a 6-11 record.
Houston Texans defensive line will be flying off the ball on Thursday Night
It’s easy to see that Darnold just abhors pressure in passing situations. Escalating this potential risk for the Panthers is their injury report. Just look at how many linemen are listed. As of this writing, the Panthers have two guards and tackles each on that report.
While some or all of those listed may play, it opens the door for backups to get into the game. With Lovie Smith being the defensive guru that he is, expect the Houston Texans to have their horns pinned back when they break for the ball.
It’s going to be up to the defense to get back as many possessions as possible for the offense, one that’s being led by Mills in his first-ever NFL start.