In an effort to provide each team with a Thursday game, NFL schedule officials often take some of the likely finishers and stick them in early season games.

A kind of philosophy “let’s get rid of them before they lose a lot”.

These folks are unlikely to expect the Carolina Panthers to be undefeated when they were placed in the Week 3 prime-time game against Houston, which is almost as surprisingly 1-1.

So everyone should be happy with this game, right?

Well, there is enough interest, first because with the Texans minus their replacement starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor, with a hamstring problem, won’t turn to their star in limbo and former starter Deshaun Watson. He has remained inactive so far after 22 women sued for sexual assault or harassment.

Rookie Davis Mills therefore opts for Houston after replacing Taylor last week in a loss to Cleveland.

“Other than the first practice, I don’t think he was really uncomfortable on Sunday, and that’s probably to be expected for a guy who has arrived,” said offensive coordinator Tim Kelly. “It’s not an easy place to play, and the situation was tough being supported as we were. So I thought he had done a good job settling down, and really, he put us in. in a position to make it a one-scoring game with a little over two (minutes) to go. “

Carolina (2-0) just beat New Orleans and is tied with Tampa Bay atop the NFC South. The Panthers have had sack parties so far.

“We’re always talking about the pass race,” Haason Reddick said of a friendly competition he has with teammate Brian Burns. “All day, every day, every time we see each other. When we are in practice, during the game, we are always talking about the pass race. “

Look for the Panthers, ranked 10th in the AP Pro32 and 8-point favorites over No.27 Houston, to give Mills adjustments.


KNOCKOUT POOL: Cleveland made things tighter than it should have been, but we survived to pick DENVER this week.

No. 31 New York Jets (plus 11) at No. 12 Denver

Teddy Bridgewater was once owned by the Jets. Now he’s going to demolish them.


No. 24 Cincinnati (plus 5) to No. 14 Pittsburgh

It worked for us in Week 1, and the Steelers have a bunch of key injuries.


Tampa Bay # 1 (plus 1) to # 2 Los Angeles Rams

It makes no sense to bet against this 44-year-old quarterback and his Bucs team. Call us foolish.

RAMS, 30-27

# 17 New Orleans (plus 3) to # 19 New England

Drew Brees vs. Tom Brady. Can’t wait … Oh wait, they’re gone.


No. 21 Miami (plus 4) at No. 5 Las Vegas

WE BELIEVE. At least this week, Pro Picks believes in the Raiders with Miami understaffed.

RAVIERS, 26-16

No.18 Los Angeles Chargers (plus 7) at No.3 Kansas City

This KC defense is worrying. But Patrick Mahomes will no longer be intercepted at a key location.

CHEFS, 30-27

No. 6 Baltimore (minus 9) vs. No. 28 Detroit

This Ravens D is also disturbing. Either way, Baltimore will hold up.

RAVENS, 28-24

No. 4 Arizona (minus 8) to No. 32 Jacksonville

In 2021, teams from the West heading East simply shrug – and win.


No. 11 Seattle (minus 2) to No. 25 (tie) Minnesota

Well, not all of them.

VIKING, 27-26

No. 15 Green Bay (plus 4) to No. 8 San Francisco

After two wins in the Eastern time zone, the Niners get a home game. And …

49ERS, 30-28

# 22 Washington (plus 9) vs. # 7 Buffalo

Considered the best bet, but still not sure about Buffalo.


# 23 Chicago (plus 7) to # 9 Cleveland

I also don’t know what the Browns are. Certainly talented, but confusing.

BROWN, 27-17

No. 25 (tie) Indianapolis (up 6) at No. 16 Tennessee

Early battle for the head of AFC South, and the Colts have a ton of issues.

TITANS, 24-13

No. 20 Philadelphia (plus 4) at No. 13 Dallas, Monday night

Early battle for the head of the NFC East. More like a pillow fight.

COWBOYS, 30-20

No.30 Atlanta (plus 3) vs. No.29 New York Giants

The only clash this week against clubs without a win. The Falcons look worse.

GIANTS, 26-22



Last week: Direct: 11-5. Against spread: 10-5-1.

Season: Straight: 18-14. Against spread: 16-14-2.

Best bet: Straight: 2-0. Against spread: 2-0

Upset Special: Direct: 2-0. Against spread: 2-0.


More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP—NFL

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