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Quick Hits: Houston Texans vs. Carolina Panthers Preview

The top two picks of the 2023 draft square off Sunday.

NCAA Football: Heisman Trophy Presentation Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

On NFL Draft weekend 2023 this seemed like a much more exciting matchup. Now, it’s a tale of two teams going in opposite directions.

Second overall pick C.J. Stroud is leading his 3-3 Houston Texans onward and upward, while top pick Bryce Young is working hard to help the 0-6 Carolina Panthers get the first pick again in 2024.

And, ya know what? That’s fine by me.

It’s nice to finally have the Texans in a position where rooting for the high draft pick isn’t a thing.

Thank you Coach ‘Meco!

This Sunday marks the seventh meeting between the Texans and Panthers, with the Carolina boys winning four of the prior six matchups.

Stroud has currently thrown for 1,660 yards, nine touchdowns and only one interception.

Meanwhile Young has yet to eclipse the 1,000 yard passing mark, sitting at 967, with only six touchdowns and four picks.

Here’s the rest of the numbers:


QB C.J. STROUD (rookie) passed for 199 yards & two TDs in Week 6. Has 0 INTs in five of six games this season, including all three on road. Has two TD passes in four of past five games. Leads rookies with 1,660 pass yards, nine TD passes & 96.4 rating.

RB DAMEON PIERCE has 80+ scrimmage yards in two of past three games. Has 1,469 scrimmage yards (77.3 per game) in 19 career games.

RB DEVIN SINGLETARY led team with season-high 58 rush yards in Week 6. Rushed for 86 yards & TD in only career game vs. Carolina Panthers (12/19/21 w/ Buffalo Bills).

WR NICO COLLINS led team with 80 receiving yards in Week 6 & has 80+ receiving yards in two of past three. Leads team with career-high 547 receiving yards in 2023.

WR TANK DELL (rookie) has 55+ receiving yards in three of his past four games.

WR ROBERT WOODS had first TD catch of season in Week 6. Had eight catches for 70 yards in his last game vs. Carolina (9/8/19 w/ Los Angeles Rams). Aims for his third in row vs. Carolina with 65+ receiving yards.

TE DALTON SCHULTZ aims for fourth game in row with TD catch & third in row with 60+ receiving yards. Had six catches for 58 yards & TD in his last game vs. Carolina (10/3/21 w/ Dallas Cowboys).

LB BLAKE CASHMAN had 15 tackles, two TFL & two PD in Week 6, becoming second player since 2000 with 15+ tackles, two TFL & two PD in a game. Aims for third in row with 9+ tackles & 2+ TFL.

LB HENRY TO’OTO’O (rookie) aims for sixth game in row with 5+ tackles.

DE JERRY HUGHES has TFL in three of past four games. Had three TFL & two sacks in his last game at Carolina (9/17/17 w/ Buffalo Bills).

DT SHELDON RANKINS had six tackles, two TFL & sack in Week 6.

CB STEVEN NELSON had six tackles & INT in Week 6. Has PD in five of six games this season & INT in two of past three. Had INT in his last game vs. Carolina (10/10/21 w/ Philadelphia Eagles).

NFL Communications:

CAROLINA (Bryce Young, No. 1) vs. Houston (C.J. Stroud, No. 2) marks fifth game in NFL history between rookie QBs selected first and second in NFL Draft. [Lawrence-Wilson (2021); Winston- Mariota (2015); P. Manning(HOF)-Leaf (1998); Bledsoe-Mirer (1993)].


QB BRYCE YOUNG (rookie) aims for his third game in row at home with zero INTs & 85+ rating. Has 20+ completions in each of his first five career starts.

RB MILES SANDERS rushed for 93 yards & TD in his only career game vs. Houston Texans (11/3/22 w/ Philadelphia Eagles).

RB CHUBA HUBBARD had season-high 88 rush yards & first rush TD of season in Week 6. Had 79 scrimmage yards (52 rush, 27 rec.) in last meeting. Aims for his sixth in row at home with 50+ scrimmage yards.

WR ADAM THIELEN had 11 receptions for 115 yards & receiving TD in Week 6. Has 24 career games with 100+ receiving yards, third-most by undrafted player since 1967, & eight career games with 10+ catches, tied for second-most by undrafted player in common-draft era. Has receiving TD in four of his past five games & aims for his third in row with TD catch. Aims for his third in row vs. Houston with 100+ receiving yards & receiving TD.

LB BRIAN BURNS aims for his third in row overall with TFL & third in row vs. Houston with 0.5+ sacks.

LB FRANKIE LUVU had sack in last meeting & aims for his third in row vs. Houston with TFL. Has TFL in three of his past four at home.

LB KAMU GRUGIER-HILL had 146 tackles, 14 TFL & three sacks in 20 games (2021-22) with Houston

DT SHY TUTTLE had career-high three TFL in Week 6.

CB TROY HILL had 61-yard INT-TD in Week 6, his third-career INT-TD & fourth-career defensive TD.

S SAM FRANKLIN has PD in three of his past four games.

NFL Communications


When the HOUSTON TEXANS (3-3) travel to meet the CAROLINA PANTHERS (0-6) on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX), the top overall selections in the 2023 NFL Draft – Carolina quarterback BRYCE YOUNG (No. 1 overall), Houston quarterback C.J. STROUD (No. 2) and Houston defensive end WILL ANDERSON (No. 3) – will be on the field.

Sunday’s contest can become the first game in the common-draft era to feature the top three selections from the most recent NFL Draft in the same game and will mark the fifth time in NFL history that the top two selections in the NFL Draft will meet as starting quarterbacks in their rookie season.

The Texans offense is currently averaging 22.5 points per game, while the Panthers are putting up 18.7.

H-Town’s defense is surrendering 18.8 points per game while the Panthers are coughing up 31.0.

This has all the makings of win #4 for Stroud and the Battle Red faithful. But, any given Sunday...

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