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Carolina Panthers

Panthers in the power rankings before season opener against Cleveland


CHARLOTTE - Follow several media outlets throughout the season as their writers update their NFL power rankings.

NFC South: Buccaneers 4th, Saints 13th, Falcons 31st

ANALYSIS: "Three seasons ago, Christian McCaffrey became the third player in NFL history to have 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same year. He was a sensation, and it appeared the Panthers had their superstar successor to Cam Newton. Two lost seasons later, and it's now fair to ask if McCaffrey can still be counted on to be the offensive focal point. The good news: McCaffrey still hasn't suffered any catastrophic lower-body injuries, and he looked like the same dominant player when he did manage to hit the field in 2020 and 2021. With some better injury luck, McCaffrey still has the potential to be a first-team All-Pro type of producer. It's a reality that could change everything for Baker Mayfield and this offense."

CBS Sports
NFC South: Saints 6th, Buccaneers 7th, Falcons 32nd

ANALYSIS: "It's all about Baker Mayfield at quarterback. They made the move to go get him, which was the smart thing to do. If he plays well they could be a playoff team."

NFC South: Buccaneers 4th, Saints 20th, Falcons 32nd

ANALYSIS: "Of the teams projected to be among the league’s bottom quarter, few are more motivated to win now than Carolina. Baker Mayfield is also probably the best quarterback this part of the power rankings has to offer."

Bleacher Report
NFC South: Buccaneers 3rd, Saints 17th, Falcons 31st

ANALYSIS: "In 2022, the Panthers have moved on to Baker Mayfield, who will start in Week 1 when Carolina hosts the Cleveland Browns. Per Joseph Person of The Athletic, Carolina head coach Matt Rhule said he's hopeful the Panthers finally have a quarterback who can help get the team back on track."

Pro Football Talk
NFC South: Buccaneers 2nd, Saints 20th, Falcons 26th

ANALYSIS: "They've got the talent to contend."

Sports Illustrated
NFC South: Buccaneers 5th, Saints 17th, Falcons 31st

ANALYSIS: "Enter Baker Mayfield, and suddenly this Panthers season looks a lot spicier and more interesting. We’ll see if that translates to more wins."

Carolina is 4-2 against Cleveland all-time.

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