Here’s who NFL experts are picking to win tonight’s Panthers-Texans football game

So after beating the Saints and starting 2-0, CBS Sports moved the Carolina Panthers up 12 spots in its NFL power rankings to No. 11. Carolina’s defense is ranked first in the league.

But does that mean the NFL experts are going to do something they don’t do too much and, like, pick Carolina to win Thursday night in Houston?

Well, Houston’s starting QB Tyrod Taylor is out and the Texas will start rookie Davis Mills. Let’s see what some of the guys have to say.

CBS Sports’ John Breech likes the Panthers 27-17. CBS Sports teammate Pete Prisco likes the Panthers, too, but in a very close game.

“This will be rookie Davis Mills at quarterback for the Texans,” Prisco writes. “He did some good things coming in as a backup last week, but this Carolina defense is playing so well, it will be a real challenge. Sam Darnold is off to a good start for the Panthers, but this will be his first road game. That’s why I think the Texans will keep this close.

Over at the NFL Spin Zone, they’re expecting a close game, too, but then lean Panthers 25-20.

At the Sporting News, Bill Bender likes Carolina by two scores, 28-16.

“Houston’s Tyrod Taylor (hamstring) is day to day, and Deshaun Watson will not play this week,” Bender writes. “That is disconcerting heading into a matchup against the Panthers, which have allowed a league-low 190 yards per game so far. Christian McCaffrey gets another 20-plus touches, and Carolina is the surprise 3-0 team.”

Eight members of the ESPN panel picked this game, and all eight picked the Panthers.

Eight of the nine panelists at College Football News are picking Carolina, but Clucko the Chicken — who hung with the Panthers for much of last season — is picking against for the third time in three weeks this season.