Carolina Panthers move up national power rankings ahead of Week 12

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Curtis Samuel
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Curtis Samuel /

4-7. Sunday, Nov 29. 60. Vikings -4.5. 1 PM ET. 87. FOX. 4-6

Where did the Carolina Panthers end up in the national power rankings ahead of Week 12?

It was a memorable afternoon for the Carolina Panthers, who pulled out all the stops to secure a 20-0 triumph over the Detroit Lions. This was a testament to how well this young roster came together in the face of adversity after a five-game losing run and being without quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and running back Christian McCaffrey.

Head coach Matt Rhule has got the Carolina Panthers going in the right direction. There has been the odd blip during the campaign and better reinforcements will undoubtedly be needed down the line, but the former Baylor man was unquestionably the right hire.

Finishing off the 2020 season strongly will only enhance their prospects of emerging as a prominent destination for upcoming free agents. Carolina should have more financial room to work with despite the salary cap uncertainty due to COVID-19 revenue losses and they should be in a good spot to pick up some exciting prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft to further assist their pursuit of becoming a postseason challenger once again.

Getting a shut-out should also do wonders for the Panthers’ confidence on defense. It’s been an up and down campaign for Phil Snow’s group but the way they applied themselves at Bank of America Stadium should give them plenty of encouragement ahead of their upcoming test at the Minnesota Vikings.

Let’s take a look at where the Panthers find themselves in the national power rankings ahead of Week 12.

Carolina Panthers in the Week 12 power rankings.

The guys over at moved the Panthers up five spots to No. 19 in their rankings, declaring that Carolina might have a huge say in the 2020 playoff picture down the stretch without quite getting into the postseason themselves.

ESPN stood firm despite their dominant win, keeping them at No. 20. Beat writer David Newton was asked what Panthers fans should be thankful for – and his answer was surprisingly Teddy Bridgewater.

"“Moving on from franchise quarterback Cam Newton drew criticism and angst from many outside Bank of America Stadium, but Bridgewater has proved to be everything the coaching staff was looking for, and more. He has handled the transition with class and dignity and has shown that he is more than worthy of replacing the best quarterback — maybe best player — in franchise history. Bridgewater has shown you can perform at a high level and be humble and fun-loving without being the center of attention, as Newton often was because of his celebrity status.”"

CBS Sports stated there is a lot to like about the Panthers moving forward after putting them at No. 18 – which is a rise of three spots from the previous week. Pro Football Talk also had Carolina moving up three to No. 20, adding that P.J. Walker must have thought he was back in the XFL against a woeful Lions secondary.

The Bleacher Report‘s latest power rankings moved the Panthers up to No. 17 – which is an elevation of two positions after arguably their most dominant performance of the campaign. NBC Sports placed Carolina at No. 20 – up two from Week 11 – and stated things might get even better if they can come away from U.S. Bank Stadium with a win the weekend.

This is a step in the right direction, but it will all be for nothing if the Panthers cannot put this momentum to good use between now and the campaign’s conclusion. The Vikings are a wounded animal after being turned over by the Dallas Cowboys last time out and they have some exceptional weapons on both sides of the ball that could make a real difference.