Week 1 power rankings round-up looks bleak for the Panthers

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey /

Things look bleak for the Carolina Panthers if the final preseason power ranking round-up is any indication before their Week 1 game against the Raiders.

It does not take an astrophysicist to figure out that the Carolina Panthers have their work cut out in 2020. They are in year one of arguably the biggest rebuild in franchise history and things might get worse before they get better for the organization.

The Carolina Panthers are going to be a fun team to watch, especially on offense. They have a wealth of playmakers who can make a real difference and an offensive coordinator in Joe Brady who has the potential to revolutionize a unit that struggled to put a good run of form together in 2020.

Their fortunes on the defensive side of the ball are far less certain. The Panthers parted ways with prominent veteran leadership during a busy offseason and replaced them with a young, versatile, and athletic group who might go through some struggles in their bid to become a cohesive unit as the campaign progresses.

It is hard to gauge just how Carolina is going to get on until we see them on the field. Not having a preseason to build cohesion could have a detrimental impact and having a coaching staff that hasn’t called an NFL game before is another obstacle that shouldn’t be overlooked.

This is reflected in the various power rankings, which have been published by national media outlets this week. It comes as no surprise to see the Panthers in the lower echelons of each standing, which is a further indication as to the task awaiting them in the coming months.

Carolina Panthers in 2020 power rankings

The experts over at NFL Network don’t hold out much hope for the Panthers. They placed them at No. 29 on their list and focused their attention on Christian McCaffrey and whether he will be able to reach his exceptional heights of 2019 with more offensive weapons demanding their fair share of targets this season.

ESPN‘s power rankings also had Carolina at No. 29 in their final listing before teams take the field for the first NFL Sunday of the season. Beat writer David Newton was keen to highlight the potential failings of the Panthers’ secondary within an NFC South division that boasts three outstanding quarterbacks in Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, and Tom Brady.

The guys over at Bleacher Report had an even more pessimistic outlook on the Panthers in 2020. They ranked them at No. 31 with only the consensus worst team behind them in the Jacksonville Jaguars. This was down in no small part fo the personnel changes made by the organization in recent months and they outlined a six-win season as a significant accomplishment for Matt Rhule during his first year at the helm.

A more analytical approach to power rankings at FiveThirtyEight.com wasn’t much better for the Panthers. The “experts” of this particular site had Carolina at No. 28, which is the highest placing in this round-up.

Rounding off our power ranking round-up are CBS Sports and Yahoo Sports, who both had the Panthers at No. 30 to complete a bleak-looking picture that might serve as some motivation for a talented roster who could become one of the NFL’s surprise packages if everything clicks into place right away.

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This makes for grim reading for Carolina’s loyal fanbase. The new season brings excitement and trepidation in equal measure, so just strap yourselves in and try to enjoy the ride.