Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Carolina Panthers Week 8 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2020 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: 18.8 (18th)
  • Best ranking: 17th (ESPN)
  • Worst ranking: 20th (The Athletic)

Below you will find a Week 8 roundup for the Panthers in our consensus 2020 NFL Power Rankings.

The Athletic -- Rank: 20

Is any team doing more with less? The Panthers matched the Saints blow for blow until the end Sunday. With a third-and-11 from the New Orleans 39, the Saints got to Teddy Bridgewater with a pressure scheme that matched defensive lineman Marcus Davenport on running back Mike Davis. Bridgewater took an 8-yard sack. That left Joey Slye to attempt a 65-yard field goal that missed just short. Three of Carolina's four losses on the season have been by seven points or fewer.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 19

Two consecutive losses has them coming back to reality after the fast start. They have a chance to change that this week with a winnable home game against the Falcons.

USA Today -- Rank: 19

QB Teddy Bridgewater has three TD passes covering 50+ yards this season. Prior to 2020, he had just two for the entirety of his career.

ESPN -- Rank: 17

Who needs to step up: TE Ian Thomas

It would be easy to say the entire defense that just allowed the Saints to convert 12 of 14 third downs and has been horrible on third down all year. But I'm going with Thomas, because in seven games, he has only seven catches for an offense in which he should thrive. Sure, the tight end has been downplayed somewhat in Joe Brady's scheme. But one reason it has been downplayed is the lack of consistent playmaking ability by Thomas. It makes that position a possible target before the trade deadline. -- David Newton -- Rank: 19

A classic what-if loss for the Panthers. Teddy Bridgewater took a sack on the team's penultimate play from scrimmage, turning a potential 57-yard game-tying field-goal attempt into a 65-yard would-be record-setting prayer. That prayer was almost answered, too, as Joey Slye's kick was dead center and missed the crossbar by a foot or so. "I have the leg strength to kick further than that," Slye lamented after the 27-24 loss. Frustrating stuff, but Carolina's ability to go punch for punch with the Saints in the Superdome reinforces what we already knew: Matt Rhule's team is well-coached and well-populated with playmakers who can make things happen, even with Christian McCaffrey's lingering absence.

Previous update: Carolina Panthers Week 7 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

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