Carolina Panthers slump in national power rankings ahead of Week 7

Matchup
Carolina Panthers
3-3
New Orleans Saints
3-2
Sunday, Oct 25
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Saints -7.5

Where do the Carolina Panthers currently stand in the national power rankings ahead of their tricky Week 7 visit to the New Orleans Saints?

Sunday’s defeat to the Chicago Bears ended an impressive winning run from the Carolina Panthers. They managed to turn their season around before things can to an abrupt halt in Week 6, which is the last thing they wanted before a pivotal NFC South divisional matchup next time around.

Matt Rhule’s threadbare roster will face the daunting task of beating the New Orleans Saints on the road. There will be some fans in the stands at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for the first time after the team threatened to move their home fixtures to LSU’s Tiger Stadium, which has the prospect to further complicate matters if they manage to make their voices heard.

It will be nothing like the atmosphere the Panthers normally get in New Orleans, which is nothing short of deafening when their side is on a roll. The Saints are overwhelming favorites to get the victory following their bye week and Carolina will need to dig deep against a team that has lofty ambitions of getting their hands back on a Super Bowl.

The Panthers have been steadily climbing the national power rankings during their recent resurgence. But how far did they slide following a third loss of the campaign?

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Carolina Panthers in the Week 7 power rankings

NFL.com did not like that they saw from Carolina’s offense in this one, moving them down five spots to No. 19. They highlighted poor protection, a lackluster day for Teddy Bridgewater, and a drop in performance from Mike Davis against an elite Bears defense as the leading contributors behind their demise.

The guys over at ESPN actually moved the Panthers up one place at No. 18 on their list despite the defeat. Beat writer David Newton picked Kawann Short’s injury as the most impactful going forward for a defense that has been steadily improving with each passing week.

“With Short alongside first-round pick Derrick Brown, this front four had a chance to be something special this year. They had two players who would demand double-teams, get a solid inside push and free up the edge rushers. Without Short, there’s more pressure on Brown and Zach Kerr to step up. It also puts more pressure on the depth at tackle, which could be a factor deep in the season. It might ultimately lead to Carolina playing more three-man fronts, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing with the speed the Panthers have on the edge from players such as Brian Burns.”

Both CBS Sports and Pro Football Talk placed the Panthers at No. 17 on their power ranking list, a demotion of two and three places respectively. The Bleacher Report moved Carolina down to No. 19, with NBC Sports and Pro Football Focus slotting Rhule’s men to No. 21 and 20.

PFF also reduced their playoff chances to 20 percent, a deduction of 23% from the previous weekend. The Panthers are still overachieving when one considers where they were predicted to end up before the season began. But what comes next over the next few weeks in the face of some high-class opposition will go a long way to determining their overall fortunes.