Carolina Panthers surging up national power rankings ahead of Week 4
Where do the Carolina Panthers currently stand in the national power rankings ahead of their trip to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 4?
It appears as if the national NFL media is starting to take the Carolina Panthers seriously. A sensational start to the 2021 season has Matt Rhule’s men sitting with a 3-0 record ahead of their trip to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 4, which is a testament to how far this team has come in a relatively short space of time.
Things are going to get tougher for the Panthers, especially without Christian McCaffrey and Jaycee Horn for the foreseeable future. The potential impact of safety Juston Burris’ absence from the lineup is another factor that cannot be overlooked.
Others now have to stand up and make a better contribution. No team is going to go a full season unscathed on the injury front, so this will be a good indicator as to just how much depth Carolina can call upon on their depth chart.
There aren’t many undefeated teams remaining across the league. But how does this reflect in the latest national power rankings round-up?
Carolina Panthers in the power rankings ahead of Week 4.
We start with FanSided writer Russell Baxter, who slotted the Panthers in at No. 10 on his rankings following Thursday’s win.
"Meanwhile, while he did put the football on the turf twice, Darnold avoided turning over the football. He threw for 303 yards and ran for two touchdowns. The Panthers outgained Houston, 407-193, in total yards, and have allowed a combined 30 points in three games."
The guys at NFL.com placed the Panthers at No. 13 – a rise of five spots – but this did come with a warning regarding the team’s future prospects without their face of the franchise in the immediate future.
ESPN rose Carolina three places to No. 12 in their standings, which came with writer David Newton proclaiming quarterback Sam Darnold as a potential Comeback Player of the Year candidate (without an injury) after an exceptional start to the season following his trade from the New York Jets.
Things look even more promising in the CBS Sports rankings, which sees the Panthers at No. 9, with The Bleacher Report cautiously optimistic about Carolina’s chances after rising them four spots to No. 12.
"“The Panthers beat the lowly Texans without their best player for most of the game. But against teams that can actually move the ball (like next week’s opponent in Dallas), it could be a different story. The pressure on Sam Darnold just skyrocketed.”"
The writers at Sports Illustrated remain complexed by the Panthers and their 3-0 start after placing them at No. 13, but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk appears far more optimistic after putting Carolina at No. 8 in his weekly rankings.
This is all good news and nothing more than the Panthers deserve. Many in the media have been skeptical about the team’s start – which is down to just how convincing Carolina’s been in the face of inferior opposition – but these opinions would change in no uncertain terms if they could pull off a win at AT&T Stadium.
Whether they can do this or not is another matter. But it will be a contest not to miss between two exciting teams looking for playoff football at the end of the campaign.