CHARLOTTE - Follow five media outlets throughout the season as their writers update their NFL power rankings, presented by Daimler Trucks North America.
ANALYSIS: "If the Panthers hoped Sam Darnold’s return to the lineup would pump some end-of-season optimism into the building, well, we’re not there yet."
ANALYSIS: "I'm not saying Sam Darnold is the answer at quarterback for the Panthers. I don't think he is. But there's no way to truly know considering how often he's under duress."
ANALYSIS: "This thing went bad after a fast start to the season. The offensive line is as bad as any in the league, and it shows every week."
ANALYSIS: "Since starting the 2021 season 3-0 against a trio of tomato cans, the Carolina Panthers have won all of twice in 13 games."
ANALYSIS: "Matt Rhule’s decision to cut ties with Joe Brady still feels strange, especially now that the Panthers are wilting on their way out of the 2021 season."