Who plays on 'Thursday Night Football' tonight? Time, TV channel, schedule for NFL Week 3

Written By Jacob Camenker
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(SN Illustration)

The 2021 NFL season has treated NFL fans to a couple of excellent "Thursday Night Football" games to start the season.

In Week 1, the Buccaneers beat the Cowboys by two points thanks to a field goal by Ryan Succop with two seconds left on the clock. A week later, the Washington Football Team knocked off the Giants; they earned a one-point victory via a Dustin Hopkins field goal as time expired.

MORE: Watch Panthers vs. Texans live with fuboTV (7-day free trial)

The Week 3 matchup doesn't project to be quite as close as its two predecessors, but given how strange the start of the NFL season has been, anything is possible.

The Texans will host the NFL's third Thursday game of the season. Houston sports a 1-1 record and has been more competitive than many expected at this early stage in the season. However, if Houston wants to win on Thursday night, it will have to get a good performance out of its third-string quarterback.

Below is everything to know about Thursday night's matchup, plus everything you need to know to watch the first Week 3 game of the 2021 NFL season.

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Who plays on Thursday Night Football tonight?

  • Matchup: Panthers at Texans
  • Location: NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas

The Panthers and Texans game may not be a marquee matchup, but there's certainly a lot of interesting elements to this game.

First and foremost is the Texans' quarterback situation. Tyrod Taylor is nursing a hamstring injury and seems unlikely to play on a short week. David Culley and the Texans are yet willing to start Deshaun Watson, so third-round rookie Davis Mills will make his first career start against a Panthers defense that is allowing a league-low 10.5 points per game.

Meanwhile, the Panthers can be the first team to improve to 3-0 if they beat the Texans. That would already surpass starting quarterback Sam Darnold's win total with the Jets in 12 starts last season; he was 2-10 in his final season in New York.

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What channel is Panthers vs. Texans on today?

NFL Network will be the exclusive host of "Thursday Night Football" for the second consecutive week. They will continue to be the exclusive broadcaster of the event through Week 4 of the 2021 NFL season. Then, there will be multiple options with which to view the game.

Fox and NFL Network will simulcast the game together starting in Week 5. That will allow those with basic cable packages to catch the action on Fox. Meanwhile, Amazon Prime will begin streaming the games in Week 5. These three services will carry "Thursday Night Football" through the remainder of the program's season, which comes to an end in Week 17.

Most United States cable providers carry the NFL Network. It also is available via satellite provider DirecTV (channels 212 and 1212) and IPTV providers Verizon FiOS (channels 88 and 588) and Google Fiber (channel 2019).

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Panthers vs. Texans start time

  • Date: Thursday, Sept. 23
  • Time: 8:20 p.m. ET

Panthers vs. Texans will kickoff at 8:20 p.m. ET, as will all Thursday night games throughout the 2021 NFL season. There will be a pregame show that begins at 7:30 p.m. on NFL Network and plenty of other coverage ahead of the game as well.

Houston is in the central time zone, so the game will begin at 7:20 p.m. in that locale.

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NFL live stream for Panthers vs. Texans

NFL Network will be broadcasting the first game of Week 3. As a result, the game will be available to stream live free on the NFL App and Yahoo! Sports App for those with cable/satellite subscriptions.

Meanwhile, cord-cutters will have plenty of options to watch Panthers vs. Texans. They are as follows.

Streaming option Cable subscription needed? Free? Cost Free trial?
NFL App No Yes - -
Yahoo! Sports App No Yes - -
fuboTV No No $60/month Yes
Hulu Plus Live TV No No $55/month Yes
Sling TV No No $30/month Yes
YouTube TV No No $65/month Yes

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NFL schedule Week 3

The Panthers and Texans will kickstart Week 3 of the 2021 NFL season, as Carolina and Sam Darnold look to improve to 3-0 over Davis Mills and the Texans. There are seven 2-0 teams left standing across the NFL, and two will be facing off in Week 3 — the Buccaneers and Rams. That will be the best game of the week and it will mark Tom Brady's first NFL game played in Los Angeles.

The "Sunday Night Football" matchup between the Packers and 49ers looks appetizing as well. The Packers have played poorly against the 49ers in recent years, so Aaron Rodgers and Co. should be motivated for that one.

Below is the full schedule for Week 3 of the 2021 NFL season.

Week 3

  • Thursday, Sept. 23
Game Kickoff time TV channel
Panthers at Texans 8:20 p.m. ET NFLN
  • Sunday, Sept. 26
Game Kickoff time TV channel
Colts at Titans 1 p.m. ET CBS
Falcons at Giants 1 p.m. ET Fox
Chargers at Chiefs 1 p.m. ET CBS
Bengals at Steelers 1 p.m. ET CBS
Bears at Browns 1 p.m. ET Fox
Ravens at Lions 1 p.m. ET CBS
Saints at Patriots 1 p.m. ET Fox
Cardinals at Jaguars 1 p.m. ET Fox
Washington Football Team at Bills 1 p.m. ET Fox
Jets at Broncos 4:05 p.m. ET CBS
Dolphins at Raiders 4:05 p.m. ET CBS
Seahawks at Vikings 4:25 p.m. ET Fox
Buccaneers at Rams 4:25 p.m. ET Fox
Packers at 49ers 8:20 p.m. ET NBC
  • Monday, Sept. 27
Game Kickoff time TV channel
Eagles at Cowboys 8:15 p.m. ET ESPN

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