Panthers rank: 20th (11th in NFC)
NFC South: Saints 3rd, Buccaneers 21st, Falcons 23rd
Beyond the numbers: The ESPN staff to bumped the Panthers up one spot in this week's rankings after the win over the Texans. According to David Newton of ESPN, the key to the Panthers making the playoffs is getting quarterback Cam Newton fully healthy so he can once again be a "viable threat as a runner and passer." Newton points out the Panthers defense already looks "solid enough to advance into the playoffs."
Panthers rank: 17th (10th in NFC)
NFC South: Saints 3rd, Buccaneers 21st, Falcons 25th
Beyond the numbers: The Panthers rose two spots this week according to NFL.com. Dan Hanzus praised running back Christian McCaffrey's ability to do it all for the Panthers, but added he's on pace for 444 touches this season. Hanzus raised concern about the Panthers usage of McCaffrey and what it may mean for the running back long-term.
Panthers rank: 19th (11th in NFC)
NFC South: Saints 3rd, Buccaneers 22nd, Falcons 26th
Beyond the numbers: The Panthers held strong at 19 after the win over the Texans according to Bleacher Report's rankings this week. The B/R staff credited backup quarterback Kyle Allen with helping to jump-start the Panthers' offense the past two weeks, and said that if he continues to win, "the Panthers could have some tough decisions to make under center in the offseason."
Panthers rank: 23rd (12th in NFC)
NFC South: Saints 4th, Buccaneers 19th, Falcons 25th
Beyond the numbers: Peter King of Pro Football Talk bumped the Panthers up one spot this week, saying it's unfair to place too much weight on Newton's early season performance. King says it's "just wrong-headed" to think about moving on from Newton without letting the quarterback show what he can do when he's 100 percent.
Panthers rank: 16th (10th in NFC)
NFC South: Saints 4th, Buccaneers 22nd, Falcons 26th
Beyond the numbers: The Panthers climbed four spots after taking down the Texans, and Pete Prisco said the Panthers have turned their season around thanks to Allen and the defense's outstanding performance.