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Carolina Panthers

Panthers in the power rankings before Week 12

NFC South: Saints 3rd, Buccaneers 6th, Falcons 20th

ANALYSIS: "A 20-0 win over the Lions on Sunday reaffirms the belief that the Panthers have the right man on the sideline. Many teams would roll over without their best player (Christian McCaffrey, shoulder) and starting quarterback (Teddy Bridgewater, knee), but Matt Rhule kept his group focused and prepared. Said safety Tre Boston after the game: "We're the toughest, hardest-working team in the league." The Panthers likely played themselves out of the playoff hunt with the five-game losing streak that was snapped Sunday, but they have the feel of a team that is going to wreak havoc on the playoff picture over the final six weeks. Arrow up in Charlotte."

NFC South: Saints 3rd, Buccaneers 6th, Falcons 25th

ANALYSIS: "What they're thankful for: QB Teddy Bridgewater

Moving on from franchise quarterback Cam Newton drew criticism and angst from many outside Bank of America Stadium, but Bridgewater has proved to be everything the coaching staff was looking for, and more. He has handled the transition with class and dignity and has shown that he is more than worthy of replacing the best quarterback -- maybe best player -- in franchise history. Bridgewater has shown you can perform at a high level and be humble and fun-loving without being the center of attention, as Newton often was because of his celebrity status."

NFC South: Saints 3rd, Buccaneers 10th, Falcons 22nd

ANALYSIS: "They snapped a five-game losing streak by beating the Lions with P.J. Walker at quarterback, which is a tribute to the coaching. They have a lot to like moving forward."

Pro Football Talk
NFC South: Saints 3rd, Buccaneers 13th, Falcons 21st

ANALYSIS: "Against the Lions, Panthers quarterback P.J. Walker likely felt he was back in the XFL."

NFC South: Saints 3rd, Buccaneers 9th, Falcons 28th

ANALYSIS: "In the grand scheme of things, Sunday's shutout win over the Detroit Lions doesn't mean a lot for the Carolina Panthers. After dropping five games in a row, the Panthers weren't going to the playoffs in 2020.

But for Panthers quarterback P.J. Walker, Sunday's game was absolutely a big deal—the former XFL standout finally got his chance to start a game in the NFL. While Walker wasn't great in relief of an injured Teddy Bridgewater, he made plays when he needed to. It was a dream come true—or more accurately, his mom's dream come true.

"It's crazy," Walker told reporters. "About a year and a half, two years ago, she called me and said, 'I had a dream you were playing for the Panthers.' I'm like, 'That's weird, me being in Indianapolis at the moment.'"

It's funny how life works out sometimes.

"Kudos to the Panthers, head coach Matt Rhule and backup quarterback P.J. Walker.," Sobleski said "The team that looked like a preseason contender for the No. 1 overall pick in April's draft remains competitive and snapped its recent five-game losing streak in the most unlikely of circumstances. Walker, who played in the XFL earlier this year (y'know, before the pandemic hit), let it all hang loose in his first NFL start and injected the squad with a little life. A young Panthers defense, meanwhile, posted the season's first shutout. Carolina is building in the right way."

The Panthers are 6-9 all-time against the Vikings, with a 3-2 record at home and 3-7 record on the road.

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