Well, a fall was expected for the Carolina Panthers today. When you drop the ball (or throw it to the other team three times), you drop some spots.
Here’s how the now 3-2 squad lined up across the board in some Week 6 power rankings:
Author: Nate Davis
Rank: 12 (-)
Author’s take: “OLB Haason Reddick, who exploded for a career-high 12½ sacks last year for Arizona, was one of this offseason’s shrewdest free agent signings. Rookie GM Scott Fitterer landed Reddick for $6 million in 2021, and he’s already responded with an NFC-high 6½ sacks.”
Author: Nick Wojton
Rank: 17 (-1)
Author’s take: “Miscues killed the Panthers against the Eagles. Quarterback Sam Darnold couldn’t carry the load and Carolina can’t get Christian McCaffery back soon enough to take pressure off of him. Other mental mistakes like a late blocked punt also sank the Panthers.”
Author: Dan Hanzus
Rank: 14 (-)
Author’s take: “Christian McCaffrey returned to practice last week — now the Panthers need their superstar RB back on Sundays. The Carolina offense sputtered again in a frustrating loss to the Eagles that featured three Sam Darnold interceptions and pass-protection issues that we didn’t see before No. 22 exited with a hamstring injury in Week 3. Such is the importance of McCaffrey, a driving force in both the running and passing games. He seems especially essential to Darnold, whose turnover-prone ways have returned without his safety valve sliding out of the backfield. ‘Sam needs to take what’s given him,’ Matt Rhule said. ‘If we do that, we’ll get back on track quickly.’”
Author: David Newton
Rank: 12 (-)
Author’s take: (Newton names wide receiver DJ Moore as team’s most improved player.)
“Consistency is the biggest difference. Moore had an outstanding 2020 season, but his catch rate (66 of 118) was only 55.9%, and he had only four receiving touchdowns. His catch rate this year is 70% (35 of 50), and he already has three receiving touchdowns. He has become Sam Darnold’s favorite target, not Robby Anderson as some expected.”
Our final take:
Last week’s loss was one that wasn’t too bad to stomach. The Dallas Cowboys, who are very legitimate contenders, have rolled out a dynamic offense that nobody has had an answer for. So no shame in that game.
But there’s a ton of shame to digested by the Panthers this past Sunday. Not that Philadelphia is a particularly bad team, but they were on the ropes for far too long. And unlike the undefeated WBC and lineal heavyweight champion of the world, Tyson Fury, Carolina couldn’t deliver the final knockout punch this weekend in a match they should’ve came out victorious in.