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ESPN Computer's Prediction For Texans vs. Panthers

Sam Darnold takes control of the huddle for the Panthers.

CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 27: Sam Darnold #14 of the Carolina Panthers calls the play from the line of scrimmage against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half of an NFL preseason game at Bank of America Stadium on August 27, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Chris Keane/Getty Images)

The Carolina Panthers should have a prime opportunity to move to 3-0 when they face the Houston Texans on Thursday Night Football.

Through two weeks, the Panthers have been one of the most pleasant surprises in football. Sure, they may have beaten a bad Jets team in Week 1 and a Saints squad in Week 2 that was dealing with multiple injuries and coaches missing the game due to COVID. But newly-acquired quarterback Sam Darnold looks reborn in Carolina, and the Panthers' defense has the potential to be one of the top units in the league.

As for the Texans, they registered a double-digit win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 1 and hung with the Cleveland Browns for a while before losing in Week 2, but will go into tonight's game without starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor.

Taylor is on IR with a hamstring injury and will be replaced by rookie Davis Mills, who is making his first career start.

ESPN's Football Power Index (FPI) has released its final prediction for tonight. The computer favors the visiting Panthers.

Carolina has a 62.4% chance of winning tonight, per the FPI. Houston, meanwhile, has only a 37.3% chance.

With a win tonight, the Panthers can show they have some staying power in the NFC. If the Texans win, they'll have pulled off a pretty big upset and would be alone in first place in the AFC South for the moment.

You can catch Panthers-Texans at 8:20 p.m. ET on NFL Network.