Saints vs. Panthers, Browns vs. Steelers Monday Night Football updates

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Get ready to close out Week 2 in the NFL with a double dose of “Monday Night Football.” Just make sure to have your remote handy to toggle back and forth to catch all the action.

The first of three twin bills on the “Monday Night Football” schedule will kick off tonight when the Carolina Panthers host the New Orleans Saints and later the Pittsburgh Steelers square off against the Cleveland Browns. Though the two games will not begin simultaneously, they will overlap, leaving fans without a rooting interest to decide how to take in all the action.

USA TODAY Sports will have live coverage of each contest, so check back often throughout the night for all the latest:

Panthers 6, Saints 6: Andy Dalton steps in for Bryce Young, Panthers settle for field goal

After Bryce Young played two and a half quarters in his home debut for the Carolina Panthers, veteran Andy Dalton took his place in the huddle on fourth-and-1.

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Dalton didn’t even take a snap as the third quarter play resulted in a false start by guard Cade Mays, which made it fourth-and-5.

Carolina opted for a 54-yard field goal, which Eddy Pineiro converted. — Victoria Hernandez

Browns 11, Steelers 7: Jerome Ford finds end zone after Nick Chubb injury

The Browns managed to take the lead in Pittsburgh after the injury to Nick Chubb.

Chubb’s replacement in the backfield, second-year running back Jerome Ford, scored on a 3-yard pass play from quarterback Deshaun Watson. The Browns went for two and Ford plowed into the end zone for a successful try.

The Browns drafted Ford in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL draft out of Cincinnati. Ford played sparingly behind Chubb and Kareem Hunt during the 2022 season, carrying the ball just eight times for 12 yards. ― Jim Reineking

Nick Chubb injured, carted off field

Browns star running back Nick Chubb was carted off the field early in the second quarter with a knee injury.

Chubb was injured when he took a handoff, ran in between the tackles and was hit low by Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.

Chubb and Fitzpatrick were both injured on the play, but Chubb stayed down on the field in what looked like a serious knee injury. When the play was shown on replay at Acrisure Stadium, the crowd had an empathic reaction.

The Browns running back was eventually carted off the field as the Pittsburgh crowd cheered their support as he exited. 

The Browns announced later in the second quarter that Chubb is out for the game. ― Tyler Dragon

Browns force turnover at end of quarter

There was another turnover at the end of the first quarter. In another wild sequence, Browns cornerback Denzel Ward hit Steelers WR Gunner Olszewski as soon as he caught the football and forced a fumble. Grant Delpit picked up the loose football and fumbled it shortly after. The loose football ricocheted off several players before bouncing out of bounds. The officials reviewed the eventful play and ruled Browns ball. ― Tyler Dragon

Saints waste opportunity after strip sack

The Saints are hanging onto a thread of a lead going into the half.

They had a major opportunity to pull away from the Panthers toward the end of the second half when Carl Granderson strip sacked Bryce Young. Saints linebacker Pete Werner attempted to scoop up the ball, but failed to gain control as it slipped through his fingers while he was running.

The ball bounced down the field where Panthers guard Chandler Zavala attempted to leap on it, but it rolled away from his grasp. A bunch of players from both sides then jumped on it. Saints cornerback Paulson Adebo eventually came out of the pile with possession.

On the ensuing drive from their own 41-yardline, New Orleans quarterback Derek Carr threw two incomplete passes and was sacked twice as the Panthers defense forced a punt.

The Saints are up 6-3 at halftime. — Victoria Hernandez

Browns force turnover, but miss field goal

Each team has forced a takeaway in the first quarter. This time it was the Browns. Safety Grant Delpit intercepted a pass thrown by Steelers QB Kenny Pickett. Delpit made a nice play on the football and stepped in front of Steelers WR George Pickens just before the ball got there.

Unfortunately for the Browns, they weren’t able to score any points off the takeaway. Cleveland’s offense went three-and-out and kicker Dustin Hopkins missed a 43-yard field goal. ― Tyler Dragon

Saints RB Jamaal Williams exits game with injury

The New Orleans Saints are thin at running back and got even thinner as Jamaal Williams went to the locker room halfway through the second quarter.

Williams was trying to jog on the sideline and then was escorted to the tunnel by athletic trainers. NFL reporter Field Yates said he suffered a hamstring injury and is questionable to return.

Williams had nine carries for 29 yards before exiting. 

Alvin Kamara is sitting out serving a suspension for his involvement in a Las Vegas fight. — Victoria Hernandez

Steelers 7, Browns 0: Pittsburgh defense gets pick-six on first play from scrimmage

The Browns had the most inopportune start a team can have on the road.

On the first play from scrimmage, Deshaun Watson and tight end Harrison Bryant had some miscommunication on a route. As a result, the pass was a little behind Bryant. The football bounced off Bryant’s hands, then bounced off a Steelers defender before linebacker Alex Highsmith grabbed the ball in the air and returned it for a pick-six. ― Tyler Dragon

Saints 6, Panthers 3: Michael Thomas sideline catch sets up field goal

Michael Thomas is back to his playmaking ways.

After missing the 2021 season with an ankle injury and only playing in three games last year, the wide receiver made a statement catch on Monday night.

On third-and-9, Derek Carr found him 19 yards downfield against the right sideline. Thomas leaped over defensive back Donte Jackson and snagged the ball.

The initial call was incomplete as Thomas seemingly landed on his behind out of bounds, but review found that he landed in the green turf before sliding out.

The play led to a 23-yard field goal from Blake Grupe after Carr threw two incomplete passes and Taysom Hill lost a few yards on a run play. — Victoria Hernandez

Why are Cleveland Browns wearing white helmets?

The Browns are in white on Monday night. The Browns will wear white helmets for the first time since 1951. The white uniforms the Browns will sport Monday are a nod to their throwback uniforms from 1946.

“We’re super fired up and really excited to have this opportunity to wear an alternate helmet,” Browns executive VP JW Johnson said in a statement, per the team’s official website. “We decided to go with the white helmet for a couple reasons — it harkens back to our past, and a lot of our greatest players wore white helmets. We also heard from our fans that it was the direction they wanted. We always want to continue having great fan interaction and deliver for them as much as we possibly can.” ― Tyler Dragon

Panthers 3, Saints 3: Saints tie up game

The Panthers defense has been holding strong, led by two early sacks from Frankie Luvu.

The Saints marched down the field and made it as far as Carolina’s 8-yardline. But on 3rd and 6, Derek Carr threw an incomplete pass, forcing New Orleans to kick a field goal.

Rookie Blake Grupe nailed the 28-yard kick to tie the game.

The score is 3-3 at the end of the first quarter. — Victoria Hernandez

Panthers LB Shaq Thompson carted off with leg injury

Shaq Thompson was carted off the field in the first quarter after injuring his leg.

The Panthers linebacker tackled Saints quarterback Taysom Hill. After the play, while he started to get up off the field, Saints offensive tackle Trevor Penning fell on his right leg.

Thompson held a finger up to the sky while being carted off. — Victoria Hernandez

Panthers 3, Saints 0: Panthers strike first with 52-yard field goal

The Saints’ first drive ended with Frankie Luvu sacking Derek Carr, leading to a punt.

The Panthers took over at their own 35-yardline for their first offensive appearance of the night.

Bryce Young completed three passes to Adam Thielen in the drive. A false start penalty gave Carolina a setback midway through the drive. A sack and incomplete pass left them with 3rd and 15. Young found Thielen for 10 yards to set up a 52-yard field goal for Eddy Pineiro. — Victoria Hernandez

Bryce Young receives ovation from Carolina crowd ahead of home debut

Rookie quarterback Bryce Young is playing in his first home game for the Carolina Panthers.

Ahead of kickoff, he ran out of the tunnel to loud cheers from Panthers fans dressed in blue and white.

The former Alabama standout received high fives from his new teammates and a hug from tight end Hayden Hurst ahead of the big game. — Victoria Hernandez

What time is kickoff for ‘Monday Night Football’?

Saints vs. Panthers is set to kick off at 7:15 p.m. ET, while the Browns and Steelers will start things off at 8:15 p.m. ET.

How can I watch Saints vs. Panthers and Browns vs. Steelers on ‘Monday Night Football’?

Saints vs. Panthers will be broadcast on ESPN and ESPN2, while Browns vs. Steelers can be seen on ABC and ESPN+.

Panthers WR DJ Chark wearing glitter cleats for Monday night game

One Panthers player will be playing with a bit of extra pizzazz in the primetime game.

While warming up for Carolina’s Monday night matchup against the Saints, wide receiver DJ Chark showed off his sparkly cleats. The shoes are light blue and have a graphic of his No. 17 at the heel.

After Odell Beckham Jr. made waves with his Randy Moss tribute cleats this season, Chark is coming for the throne. ― Victoria Hernandez

Saints QB Derek Carr reflects on time with Raiders

Derek Carr is in his first year with the New Orleans Saints after spending the first nine years of his NFL career with the Las Vegas Raiders. He started the 2023 season by outlasting the Tennessee Titans even without star running back Alvin Kamara.

On ESPN’s “Monday Night Countdown,” the quarterback reflected on his journey leaving the only team he ever played with.

“When I first left it hurt so much because all you want to do as a quarterback is win a championship for your team, especially a team your dad grew up rooting for,” he said. “I know beyond a shadow of a doubt I gave everything I had. Those things I’m proud of because those are lessons I get to teach my boys and hopefully future quarterbacks. 

“Now I sit here today with so much experience, so many good memories too. I text Josh McDaniels, ‘Hey, congrats on beating the Broncos, man. That’s awesome.’ He sent me a nice text back. When I left, I had a great conversation with Mark Davis. He knows at some point I’m going to be coming back. He’s like, ‘You’re always welcome.’ Once a Raider, always a Raider.”

Carr said that joining the Saints has given him a new sense of motivation.

“I get to prove myself again,” he said. “I get to prove to my teammates that they can count on me at the end of a game. I haven’t been this happy playing football in a long time.” ― Victoria Hernandez

Saints vs. Panthers odds

New Orleans enters the contest as 3-point favorites, according to BetMGM.

Saints vs. Panthers predictions

Lorenzo Reyes: Panthers 18, Saints 17

The reason why I like the Panthers here is their pass rush. The Saints gave up four sacks and Carolina sacked Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder four times. Bryce Young is still learning, but if he limits turnovers he will give the Panthers a shot here. Still, I think there are better plays out there.

Tyler Dragon: Saints 24, Panthers 17

Rookie Bryce Young was shaky in his NFL regular-season debut. Derek Carr was steady in his Saints debut. The Saints have a better defense and a better collection of skill players on offense even without the suspended Alvin Kamara.

Victoria Hernandez: Saints 17, Panthers 10

Bryce Young will feel more comfortable at home and will have learned a lot from his NFL debut. But the Saints are more experienced and last week proved they have gelled enough to get a win.

Jordan Mendoza: Saints 27, Panthers 23

Derek Carr looks comfortable in his new home, and the defense takes advantage of Bryce Young trying to find his footing in the NFL. 

Browns vs. Steelers odds

Cleveland is 2.5-point favorites on the road at Pittsburgh, according to BetMGM.

Browns vs. Steelers predictions

Lorenzo Reyes: Steelers 21, Browns 20

Pittsburgh was arguably the worst letdown of Week 1 after a positive offseason. I think the Steelers will be much better and will bounce back. Cleveland was impressive in its opener against the Bengals, but I still think the Browns are vulnerable on offense. Look for Kenny Pickett to get George Pickens involved much earlier.

Tyler Dragon: Saints 24, Panthers 17

Rookie Bryce Young was shaky in his NFL regular-season debut. Derek Carr was steady in his Saints debut. The Saints have a better defense and a better collection of skill players on offense even without the suspended Alvin Kamara.

Victoria Hernandez: Browns 21, Steelers 17

Both teams surprised in Week 1, for quite opposite reasons. I expect the Steelers to show a little more life than their embarrassing season opener, but Cleveland’s confidence will lead them to win on the road.

Jordan Mendoza: Browns 20, Steelers 16

The Browns defense didn’t let the Bengals breathe in a dominant win, while Pittsburgh was overpowered by San Francisco. Riding the momentum, Cleveland gets another divisional win thanks to its defense wrecking havoc.

New ‘Monday Night Football’ anthem will introduce theme song

ESPN is debuting a new “Monday Night Football” anthem that will lead into broadcasts, starting with the Week 2 twin bill.

Chris Stapleton, Snoop Dogg and drummer Cindy Blackman Santana cover Phil Collins’ classic song “In The Air Tonight” in an abbreviated version that will take viewers into the game’s open with announcers Joe Buck and Troy Aikman.

Stapleton croons while Snoop inserts football-centric rap verses. Blackman Santana delivers the iconic drum solo that fuels the anticipation for that evening’s games.

The artists, and the song, were chosen in light of ESPN’s creative content team’s focus-group research that revealed the “MNF” brand contains a level of nostalgia dating back to the era in which announcer Howard Cosell called the games.

For more, read Chris Bumbaca’s full story on the project.

Odds for ‘Monday Night Football’ games

Highlighting Monday Night Football odds, the New Orleans Saints and Cleveland Browns are among the best bets for NFL Week 2 in twin-pronged MNF action. The Saints are favored by 3 points over the Carolina Panthers, while the Browns are favored by 2.5 over the Pittsburgh Steelers, according to the BetMGM NFL odds. Both favorites are the road team. Looking to wager? Check out the best mobile sports betting apps offering NFL betting promos in 2023.

According to the top NFL betting apps, Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson might not have the best NFL MVP betting odds in 2023, but he is rising. Neither of these teams are among those with the best early Super Bowl betting odds, but the season is young.

Still, a few of these teams are among the most popular NFL future bets with young quarterbacks such as Bryce Young (Carolina) and Kenny Pickett (Pittsburgh) in tow.

Not interested in these games? Our guide to the NFL betting odds, picks and spreads has you covered with Thursday Night Football odds, Sunday Night Football odds and/or Monday Night Football odds.

 If you’re new to sports betting, don’t worry. We have tips for beginners on how to place bet online. And USA TODAY readers can claim exclusive promos and bonus codes with the online sportsbooks and sports betting sites. — Richard Morin

Week 2 in the NFL offered the opportunity for 16 teams who lost their opener to bounce back.

Some of them, like the potential Super Bowl-contending Buffalo Bills did so with efficiency in a complete takedown of the Las Vegas Raiders. Others, like the Los Angeles Chargers, wasted a stellar offensive performance, in this case from star quarterback Justin Herbert.

The defending Super Bowl-champion Chiefs were one of those teams that rebounded from a Week 1 loss, but Kansas City’s offense under reigning Most Valuable Player Patrick Mahomes has suddenly lost its punch.And then there are the Chicago Bears, who look lifeless and lost and potentially bound for big changes. — Lorenzo Reyes

The AFC is supposedly the NFL’s power conference, correct? Entering Monday, the AFC has two 2-0 teams (Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins) … while the NFC has six, the New Orleans Saints primed to make it seven Monday night. The Cleveland Browns could give the AFC a trio of 2-0s by the end of Week 2, but still not what most envisioned for the conference awash in superstar quarterbacks.

What else did Nate Davis learn during Week 2?

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