NFL Network News: Special Programming for Carolina Panthers at Houston Texans Thursday Night Feature Game

Panthers-Texans EXCLUSIVELY on NFL Network Thursday at 8:20 PM ET

‘NFL GameDay Kickoff’ at 6:00 PM ET – Steve Smith Sr. 1-on-1 w/ Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey

Pregame Coverage Starts with ‘TNF First Look’ at 3:00 PM ET

The 2021 Thursday Night Football Presented by Bud Light Platinum season continues Thursday, September 23 when running back Christian McCaffrey and the undefeated Carolina Panthers travel to face running back Mark Ingram and the Houston Texans at 8:20 PM ET EXCLUSIVELY on NFL Network.

Panthers-Texans will also be available on local broadcast stations in Charlotte (WSOC) and Houston (KPRC). Fans can also stream the game through NFL digital properties across devices (, the NFL app and NFL Network app), NFL Network distributors’ apps and sites, and on phones via Yahoo Sports and the Panthers and Texans mobile properties. Live game audio of Thursday Night Football will be broadcast nationally by Westwood One, and carried on SiriusXM and TuneIn. For a full listing of Thursday Night Football viewing options, fans can visit

FOX Sports’ lead play-by-play announcer Joe Buck, and Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback and FOX Sports’ lead analyst Troy Aikman, along with sideline reporters Erin Andrews and Kristina Pink call the action from Houston. Additionally, FOX’s NFL Rules expert Mike Pereira joins to give explanations on officiating and rules throughout the game.

NFL Network’s on-location pregame coverage begins at 3:00 PM ET with TNF First Look hosted by Andrew Siciliano from inside NRG Stadium.

At 6:00 PM ET on NFL Network, NFL GameDay Kickoff previews the Panthers-Texans matchup with host Colleen Wolfe and analysts Joe ThomasSteve Smith Sr. and Michael Irvin.

Among the topics discussed this week on NFL GameDay Kickoff include:

  • Steve Smith Sr. sits down with Carolina Panthers All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey
  • Michael Irvin explains what the Houston Texans need to do to make rookie quarterback Davis Mills comfortable in his first NFL start
  • Joe Thomas on the job head coach Matt Rhule has done in turning around the Carolina Panthers
  • NFL GameDay Kickoff discusses the biggest key behind Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold’s early success this season

At halftime, Wolfe, Thomas, Smith Sr. and Irvin break down the first half. Immediately following the game, the postgame show airs with Wolfe, Thomas, Smith Sr. and Irvin joined by a star of the game. Additional postgame coverage continues at 12 Midnight ET on NFL Network.

Last week, the 2021 Thursday Night Football schedule opened with a strong start as the Washington Football Team’s 30-29 win over the New York Giants averaged 7.9 million viewers (TV+Digital) – making it NFL Network’s most-watched exclusive Thursday Night Football game since 2018 (New York Jets vs. Cleveland Browns, 2018 Week 3).


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