CHARLOTTE - Follow several media outlets throughout the season as their writers update their NFL power rankings.
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."
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."
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."
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."
ANALYSIS: "They've got the talent to contend."
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.