The Carolina Panthers emerged from Thursday Night Football with their perfect record intact.
Unfortunately, they couldn’t escape without some significant losses.
The Panthers (-8.5) beat the Houston Texans to improve to 3-0 straight up and against the spread.
However, Carolina lost running back Christian McCaffrey early to a hamstring injury, and rookie first-round pick cornerback Jaycee Horn suffered a broken foot.
For as impressive as the Panthers’ 3-0 start has been, losing McCaffrey and Horn long-term would be a major blow to the optimism this team has generated early on this season.
Here’s the Morning Coffee for Friday, Sept. 24, 2021.
Panthers improve to 3-0
Sam Darnold certainly delivered as a touchdown favourite for the first time in his career.
Darnold threw for 304 yards and rushed for two scores in the win.
Sam Darnold Passing Chart vs Texans 🎯— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) September 24, 2021
Darnold finished 9/11 for 198 yards on passes traveling 10+ air yards, completing +24.7% of passes over expected according to our completion probability model, a new career-high.#CARvsHOU | Powered by @awscloud pic.twitter.com/EQ2LTxIVBC
Meanwhile, rookie fourth round pick Chuba Hubbard stepped up with 52 yards on 11 carries. He also had three receptions for 27 yards.
Carolina will need to lean even more on the Canadian running back if McCaffrey is forced to miss an extensive amount of time.
The Panthers entered Week 3 as the top-ranked team in the NFL by DVOA.
While they lost some key pieces due to injury, Darnold was solid and the defence showed again why they are considered one of the most improved units in the league.
Next up for Carolina is a Week 4 showdown with the Dallas Cowboys.
The Panthers were +700 to be the league’s last remaining undefeated team entering Week 3.
After last night’s win and a couple of key injuries, I’m interested to see what their number looks like entering Week 4.
Blue Jays suffer third loss in four games
For as good as the Toronto Blue Jays have looked in the month of September, they can’t afford to let many more games slip away.
The Minnesota Twins (+125) beat up the Blue Jays in a 7-2 win on Thursday night.
After going 12-1 to start the month, Toronto has gone 4-5 since, including dropping three of its past four.
With the loss, the Blue Jays are now a full game back of the New York Yankees for the second American League wild-card spot.
Toronto’s odds to make the playoffs have lengthened from -215 to -145 after back-to-back losses.
Meanwhile, the Yankees are now -140 to make the playoffs.
CFL Week 8 wraps tonight
Week 8 of the CFL season wraps up tonight with a doubleheader on TSN.
First up, McLeod Bethel-Thompson and the Toronto Argonauts (-2.5) host the Montreal Alouettes.
After that, the Saskatchewan Roughriders (-110) will visit the BC Lions in the marquee matchup of the week.
The Prop Masters will be back later this afternoon with their best bets for tonight’s game.
Coming off a 6-0 performance on Wednesday, it’s safe to say that I’ll be tailing The Prop Masters again tonight.