Carolina Panthers power rankings round-up ahead of Week 3

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) Curtis Samuel
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) Curtis Samuel /

Where do the Carolina Panthers currently sit in the Power Rankings ahead of their long trip to the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 3?

Things have not gone according to plan for the Carolina Panthers during the first two weeks of the 2020 season.

They have suffered defeat to the Las Vegas Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who both look primed for the postseason if their early efforts are any indication. This makes it ten straight losses dating back to the previous campaign for the Carolina Panthers, who will also be without the services of star running back Christian McCaffrey for anything between 4-6 weeks with a high ankle sprain.

This was hardly the opening that new head coach Matt Rhule envisaged, or maybe it was what he was expecting having had no preseason games to build cohesion with Carolina’s new-look roster. Either way, things need to start trending on an upward curve at the earliest possible opportunity for the doubts to subside regarding just what direction the franchise is currently going in.

The Los Angeles Chargers will pose another stern threat for the Panthers in Week 3. Anthony Lynn’s men took the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs to overtime last weekend thanks to their outstanding defensive front and a notable debut from rookie quarterback Justin Herbert.

Starting the season 0-3 wouldn’t be ideal. But the Panthers have shown some positive traits from their opening two contests and hopefully, it can translate to a much-needed victory in the near future.

How did the Panthers stack up in national media power rankings ahead of Week 3?

Carolina Panthers in the Week 2 power rankings

The guys over at dropped the Panthers to No. 28 on their rankings, which is probably the best standing you will find anywhere after two weeks. This did not hide their concern surrounding McCaffrey’s injury, which could leave this current roster “sink quickly into irrelevance”.

Things looked a bit less promising on ESPN’s latest list, which had Carolina placed at No. 30. However, they were glowing in their praise of Robby Anderson, who has clearly benefitted from offensive coordinator Joe Brady’s scheme over his first two games that both went over 100-yards receiving.

"No player has benefited more from Joe Brady’s fast-paced offense than Anderson, who leads the team in receptions with 15 and is second in targets with 18. He has topped 100 yards receiving in both games — 109 on nine targets in Sunday’s loss to Tampa Bay and 114 yards and a touchdown in the opening loss to the Raiders. With the Panthers seemingly destined to play from behind, Anderson will continue to flourish and become more consistent, something that has kept him from being a top receiver in the past."

CBS Sports and The Bleacher Report put the Panthers at No. 31, with both outlets highlighting the defensive deficiencies in Carolina and the impact of McCaffrey spending time on the sidelines as potential stumbling blocks that are there for all to see.

Pro Football Talk ranked the Panthers’ dead last on their list, which would obviously result in the No. 1 overall pick and the chance to land Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence next spring.

"They’ve performed admirably, but that becomes a lot harder with the best running back in football not available for a month or so."

Rounding off our look at the power rankings across the league is Yahoo Sports, who had only the New York Jets behind them at No. 31 overall and might be considered a fair reflection on how things have transpired so far.

It is a problematic situation that Carolina’s inexperienced coaching staff find themselves in. They are going to get the benefit of the doubt during the season to a certain extent. But if things continue to trend on a downward curve, this will not be the case for much longer.

Must Read. 4 free agents the Carolina Panthers should call after Christian McCaffrey injury. light

Now is the time for this group to show their mettle in McCaffrey’s absence. And for some,  their future with the franchise depends on it.