Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Carolina Panthers Week 3 NFL Power Rankings

Throughout the 2021 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Here is where the Carolina Panthers rank in terms of average, best and worst:

  • Average ranking: 14.6 (15th)
  • Best ranking: 11th (CBS Sports)
  • Worst ranking: 18th (

Below you will find a Week 3 roundup for the Panthers in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 23

Fantasy surprise: QB Sam Darnold

You can't say Christian McCaffrey here because nothing he has done is a surprise. So, the nod goes to Darnold who, while not lighting it up, has shown the consistency the Panthers were hoping for when they traded for him. Darnold has three touchdown passes to only one interception, and he also has a rushing touchdown. Most impressive is that he has completed 68.5% of his passes, way up from the 59.8% he had in three years with the Jets. -- David Newton -- Rank: 25

Wins over the lowly Jets and a decimated Saints squad invite some doubts about the validity of their 2-0 start, but the Panthers certainly look like a team that has the ability to hang with the majority of the NFC. Sam Darnold has been efficient and mostly mistake-free behind a sturdy offensive line, while Christian McCaffrey has put the offense on his back in consecutive weeks. The defense has been the real revelation here; led by Shaq Thompson, Carolina continues to swarm the opposing quarterback and put offensive game plans in the blender. The schedule stays soft in Week 3: A Thursday night road trip to Houston to face third-string rookie QB Davis Mills. The Panthers have a chance to hit October with serious momentum.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 23

Matt Rhule has this young team playing good football. The defense has a chance to be special and can really impact a game.

USA Today -- Rank: 23

Hey, Sam Darnold, how does it feel to be 2-0 for the first time since you were at USC? Backed by the league's top-ranked defense and going into Houston, good bet 3-0 is just around the corner.

The Athletic -- Rank: 23

OK, so maybe this is a tad high given Darnold's career performance. But look: Sam Darnold has been good through two weeks! Are we scared of regression, that it's only a matter of time before he has a Zach Wilson-esque four-interception game? Sure. But the reality is that after two games, including last week against a Saints defense that had just made Aaron Rodgers look silly, Darnold is well ahead of his career averages for completion percentage (68.5) and yards per attempt (8.0). He's also well below his average interception percentage (1.4 percent of his dropbacks). Enjoy it while it lasts, Panthers fans.

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