Saturday, January 1, 2022

Carolina Panthers Week 17 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

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: 27.6 (27th)
  • Best ranking: 26 (CBS Sports)
  • Worst ranking: 30 (

Below you will find a Week 17 roundup for the Panthers in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 27

Non-QB MVP: OLB Haason Reddick

Not only does Reddick lead the team in sacks with 11, he has been key to helping young players understand the process that coach Matt Rhule preaches in regard to turning the organization around. Reddick was a part of that process at Temple under Rhule, so the linebacker understands the work and effort that goes into that -- and is able to verbally explain it as well as lead by example. -- David Newton -- Rank: 30

What's the opposite of the Midas touch? Whatever it is, Matt Rhule has it when it comes to the quarterback position in the NFL. On Sunday, the coach opted to play both Sam Darnold and Cam Newton -- roughly splitting the snaps between the two quarterbacks -- to predictably calamitous results. The resulting 32-6 loss to an injury-ravaged Bucs team showed just how far this team has fallen since the salad days of September's 3-0 start. Rhule did himself no favors after the game with a labored Jay-Z analogy that drew groans on social media and -- perhaps -- the Panthers front office. Rhule's best chance at a third year in Carolina might hinge on his ability to keep a low profile.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 26

Their offense is awful. Does it matter who plays quarterback? They have to get that fixed for the future.

USA Today -- Rank: 28

Public Service Announcement: Matt Rhule has 99 Problems, but being compared to Jay-Z isn't one of them.

The Athletic -- Rank: 27

Is he The Guy? Two nos, one each for Sam Darnold and Cam Newton, which pretty much sums up the disaster that was the 2021 season for Panthers quarterbacks (P.J. Walker also gets a no, but that just feels like piling on). In retrospect, Carolina would have been better off sticking with Teddy Bridgewater and then making a big move in 2022. The Darnold acquisition, in a trade with the Jets, was especially disappointing. Outside of a few nice moments during the Panthers' 3-0 start in September, he wasn't any better in Carolina than he was in New York. Newton re-signing with Carolina briefly made for a nice feel-good story, but he wasn't the answer now, and he won't be next season.

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