Keys to the Game: Panthers vs. Texans

The Carolina Panthers kick off their home opener against the Houston Texans for week 2. The Panthers come in 1-0 after beating Jacksonville last week. The Texans are 0-1 after a loss to the chiefs. The Panthers are tied with the Falcons for first place in the NFC South Division. Newton and the Panthers offense will try to improve upon a week one performance that saw them only score 13 points on offense. They will have to play without linebacker Luke Kuechly who is out after suffering a concussion in week one. J.J. Watt is a defensive force for the Texans along with Jadeveon Clowney


1. Get the run game going

It's pretty simple for the Panthers on Sunday. If they want to have success and win their home opener, this team is going to need to get its run game going. Sure, the Panthers beat the Jacksonville Jaguars, 20-9, but offense was an issue. Carolina had a grand total of 35 rushes for 105 yards in Week 1, which needs to be improved in Week 2. Jonathan Stewart led the charge with 18 carries for 56 yards, but if he's unsuccessful early on, the team will need to turn to someone who can ease the pressure off Cam Newton and the passing game.

2. Make Greg Olsen a priority

One catch for 11 yards is all Olsen could put together in Week 1. With that said, he had a touchdown called back for offensive pass interference, and was only targeted three total times. No, Newton shouldn't force the ball to Olsen, but the wide receivers need to begin stepping up in order to help Olsen see more openings in opposing defenses. The talented tight end should be a focal point of the offense against the Texans, who allowed Kelce to have a massive day.

3. Don't let DeAndre Hopkins go wild

Hopkins is one of the rising stars in the NFL, and he's probably the only reason why the Texans' loss to the Chiefs looked as close as it did. Last week, Hopkins caught nine balls for 98 yards, two scores and a two-point conversion. If you think Mallett isn't going to do anything and everything to get the ball to Hopkins, then you're crazy. The Panthers have to lock in on Hopkins and keep him contained as much as they possibly can.

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