Nostrathomas had a stronger Week 2 but there’s still a way to go to be on top of the game again. One positive is that I nailed my two upset picks. The Las Vegas Raiders knocked out the Pittsburgh Steelers 26-17 and the Dallas Cowboys came away with a victory over the Chargers in Los Angeles 20-17.
NFL Week 3 AFC vs the NFC South Showdown
For Week 2, Nostrathomas was 12-4 straight-up and 8-8 against the spread, 2-2 ATS with his Best Bets. That brings the record for the season at 20-12 straight-up, 3-5 with Best Bets against the spread and 14-18 ATS overall.
Let’s get started in Week 3 with a battle between the NFC and AFC South.
Carolina Panthers -7.5 vs Houston Texans (Thursday Night Football; NRG Stadium, Houston, TX)
The Carolina Panthers stepped hard on the New Orleans Saints in Week 2 to run their record to 2-0 and grab a share of the NFC South lead with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In Houston, things can’t get much worse. They lost starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor to a hamstring injury in the first half of last week’s loss to the Cleveland Browns. They turned to rookie Davis Mills, third round choice in the 2021 NFL Draft, to play the second half.
It wasn’t a positive debut for the young quarterback. Taylor had completed 10 of 11 attempts for 125 yards, one touchdown and a passer rating of 144.3 in the first half. Mills completed the game with eight completions in 18 attempts for 102 yards, one touchdown and one interception for a 58.1 passer rating.
Now Mills gets the start against a Panthers defense that has been the toughest in the league through two games. After downing the New York Jets and crushing the New Orleans Saints, Carolina’s defense tops the NFL in points allowed, total yards allowed, rushing yards per attempt, sacks and is second in passer rating allowed.
Another factor that has put the Panthers over the top so far this year has been the emergence of Sam Darnold as an NFL quarterback. After three seasons in purgatory with the New York Jets, he seems to have found a coach in Matt Rhule and offensive coordinator in Joe Brady who can bring out the best in him.
In two games, Darnold has already thrown for 584 yards with a 7.4 net passing yards per attempt, three touchdowns, one interception and a 100.5 passer rating.
While the Texans showed through two games that they aren’t prepared to be the easy out that experts thought they would be, not having Tyrod Taylor at quarterback to drive their offense is going to be a major setback.
This would have been a difficult game for Houston to win when fully healthy. Without him, it’s surprising that the Panthers are only giving 7.5 points. The half-point kicker has been hitting Nostrathomas hard so far this season but I don’t think that will be a problem here.
Nostrathomas is taking the Carolina Panthers to win and cover.
Carolina Panthers 26 Houston Texans 18
All point spreads provided by VegasInsider.com and are accurate at the time of writing.