Carolina Panthers continue power rankings drop ahead of Week 9

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Carolina Panthers offense
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Carolina Panthers offense /

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Where do the Carolina Panthers sit in the rankings ahead of Week 9?

After so much optimism surrounding the Carolina Panthers earlier in the season, their outlook looks a lot bleaker at the present time. They are coming off their most disappointing loss of the campaign at home to the Atlanta Falcons last week and face some stern challenges upcoming on the schedule before heading into their well-deserved bye.

It was always going to be a case of taking the rough with the smooth with the Carolina Panthers this season. Big changes were made to both their playing personnel and coaching staff during what appears to be a rebuild of massive proportions, so the fact an inexperience group has been competitive is reason enough to be encouraged about their long-term prospects.

Coming up with the goods in crucial moments is an area of concern that will obviously need to improve if the Panthers want to get themselves into postseason contention down the line. But with some quality reinforcements, there is every chance this can happen sooner rather than later.

Next up for Carolina is the Kansas City Chiefs, who already look primed to defend their Super Bowl title and go into the contest as huge favorites. Regardless of the result, this is sure to be another steep learning curve for the Panthers and a good benchmark as they look to reach this sort of level moving forward.

Let’s take a look at where the Panthers landed in the national power rankings ahead of Week 9.

Carolina Panthers in the Week 9 power rankings.

The team over at have been largely impressed by the Panthers this season, but their latest loss sees them fall five places to No. 24 in their rankings. They mentioned a “feel-good factor” regarding Carolina’s three-game winning run being a thing of the past but did point out Christian McCaffrey‘s impending return as a possible lift for the organization.

Things weren’t as drastic in ESPN’s weekly list, with the Panthers falling one spot to No. 18. Beat writer David Newton was tasked with choosing a reason for optimism from Carolina’s perspective and he picked defensive coordinator Phil Snow.

"“The first-year NFL defensive coordinator has dealt with losing his Pro Bowl tackle and his starting end, safety and cornerback. Snow started six rookies in Thursday’s game against Atlanta. And yet the defense has played well enough to give the Panthers a chance to win almost every week. The credit goes to Snow, whose ability to adjust and use of multiple formations in a bend-but-not-break attack has made the Panthers more competitive than many expected through the first eight games. He has by far made a bigger impact than offensive coordinator Joe Brady, who came in as the hot coaching candidate.”"

CBS Sports claimed the Panthers have now reverted to “the team we expected to see” after putting them at No. 20 in the standings, with Pro Football Talk not yet ruling out the Panthers’ chances of crashing the NFL playoff party when McCaffrey returns after dropping them five places to No. 24.

The Bleacher Report didn’t alter the Panthers’ position despite the defeat, keeping them at No. 18, with NBC Sports also putting Carolina at the same spot.

This is probably fair in the grand scheme of things. The Panthers had a real opportunity to show the NFL world they were a force to be reckoned with on Thursday Night Football against the Falcons, but instead of shining on the national stage, the team turned in their worst collective performance of the season.

More. 4 Carolina Panthers players who’ve exceeded expectations at midseason point. light

It will be interesting to see how they fare at the Super Bowl champions on Sunday. Playing with next to no expectations regarding a positive result is something that’s worked in their favor this season. However, that should not detract from what a daunting test this will be for them at Arrowhead Stadium.