Carolina Panthers perched low in FanSided's power rankings heading into Week 2

Frank Reich
Frank Reich / Jared C. Tilton/GettyImages

It came as no surprise to see the Carolina Panthers take a low perch in FanSided's power rankings heading into Week 2 against the New Orleans Saints.

Losing the first game always rubs people up the wrong way. Fans around the league spend months waiting and hoping for better or similar fortunes depending on how their team fared during the previous campaign, so for this optimism to almost completely shatter after just one contest isn't exactly what they had in mind.

This rings true for the Carolina Panthers, who were downed at the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1 after numerous positive changes across the franchise throughout the offseason. Rome wasn't built in a day and growing pains were always going to arrive, but what transpired in the days following only raised concerns heading into a critical Monday Night Football clash versus the New Orleans Saints.

Carolina lost interior offensive lineman Brady Christensen for the entire campaign after a bicep injury forced him to season-ending injured/reserve. This came as a complete shock as there didn't seem to be anything to be concerned about when the left guard was on the field in Atlanta.

To make matters worse, cornerback Jaycee Horn looks set to miss a considerable period with a hamstring issue. It was initially thought he'd be out for a few weeks, but head coach Frank Reich's omission that the former first-round pick might need surgery paints a much bleaker picture.

Carolina Panthers at No. 26 in FanSided's power rankings

It's not hard to see why there is significant worry among Carolina's fanbase and the Saints will smell this proverbial weakness a mile away. The Panthers are not without a chance, but there's just no telling how morale might look if they end up on the wrong side of another result against divisional opposition.

When placing the Panthers among others around the league, Russell Baxter from FanSided put Reich's men at No. 26 in his recent power rankings. The experienced writer highlighted the costly turnovers at the Falcons as a primary reason why they aren't higher.

"The Panthers look to get off to a good start against the rival Falcons. Rookie quarterback Bryce Young took his lumps against an improved Atlanta defense. He hit on 20-of-38 passes but totaled only 146 yards through the air. He found tight end Hayden Hurst for a first-half score, but he also threw a pair of interceptions. Frank Reich’s team owned a 10-7 lead early in the third quarter but watched the Falcons score the final 17 points of the game. Miles Sanders totaled 72 of Carolina’s 154 rushing yards but lost a crucial fumble in the third quarter."

Russell Baxter, FanSided

There's a good chance Carolina would have won Sunday's game without silly mistakes. If Bryce Young can protect the football a little better and Ejiro Evero's defense forces a takeaway or two along the way, their hopes of winning with the NFL world watching increase exponentially.

The Saints will be a tough out - especially from a defensive standpoint after they restricted ferocious running back Derrick Henry and the Tennessee Titans to just 15 points. But if the Panthers improve and everyone plays up to the level expected, they have absolutely nothing to fear.

Moving to panic stations after one competitive game is foolish. Carolina is dealing with more complications than most, but there are enough high characters on the roster and across Reich's coaching staff to respond positively in pursuit of getting their campaign back on track.

If that proves to be the case, expect the Panthers to surge up FanSided's power rankings in no time at all.