Carolina Panthers fall in national power rankings ahead of Week 16

(Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule
(Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule /

4-10. Sunday, Dec 27. 58. Washington -2.5. 4.05 PM ET. 87. CBS. 6-8

Where do the Carolina Panthers sit in the power rankings ahead of Week 16?

The Carolina Panthers head into their reunion with former head coach Ron Rivera with plenty of questions surrounding their current rebuild. After a promising start to the campaign, Matt Rhule’s men have now won just once over the last nine games and are staring another high-end 2021 NFL Draft pick in the face.

Not exactly the worst thing in the world. But things were set to be so much better had the Carolina Panthers picked up some notable wins against top opposition before failing down the stretch in big moments.

Rivera might not have a winning record to show from his first year in Washington. But that doesn’t mean it won’t come with a place in the postseason. They remain atop the dismal NFC East standings at 6-8 and a win over Carolina could guarantee their unlikely playoff spot if other results go their way.

The Panthers aren’t playing for anything other than pride. And there will be plenty of that on the line from both sides with so many long-standing associations between players and coaching staff involved.

Let’s take a look at where Carolina sits in the national power rankings ahead of Sunday’s game at Washington, which was flexed to 4.05 PM.

Carolina Panthers in the Week 16 power rankings.

The guys over at didn’t move the Panthers from No. 27 on their list despite another close-fought defeat. But they did highlight the team’s inability to get over the line in critical moments despite showing plenty of fighting qualities.

"“The Panthers have now lost eight games this season by one possession. That sustained level of competitive play shows fighting spirit, sure, but also exposes the inability to close out games and make the big play in critical situations.”"

ESPN dropped Carolina one position to No. 28 following their 10th loss of the 2020 campaign. Beat writer David Newton was asked to pick the team’s most underrated star – which was stud defensive end, Brian Burns.

CBS Sports seem to finally be losing patience with the Panthers and slid them five places to No. 28 on their weekly rankings, with Pro Football Talk highlighting a potential high 2021 NFL Draft pick as a significant benefit after demoting them four places to No. 30.

"“A pair of season-ending, draft-enhancing losses will do much more for the team over the long haul than winning those games.”"

The Bleacher Report remains optimistic regarding Carolina – putting them at No. 23 and a loss of just one spot – but stated that Teddy Bridgewater‘s fumble on the one-yard line was the story of their 2020 season so far.

Rounding off our national power rankings round-up is NBC Sports, who have Carolina at No. 29 and outlined that their 1-8 record since a three-game winning streak earlier this season as the primary reason.

Just what is going to happen over the next fortnight with the Panthers is unclear. But it is nothing compared to what could potentially occur during a critical offseason period in 2021.