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Panthers in the power rankings before Week 12 at Miami


CHARLOTTE - Follow five media outlets throughout the season as their writers update their NFL power rankings, presented by Daimler Trucks North America.

NFC South: Buccaneers 3rd, Saints 18th, Falcons 28th

ANALYSIS: "Cam Newton played well in his return to Bank of America Stadium, but it was his former backup that stole the show. Taylor Heinicke lit up the Carolina defense for three touchdown passes and the Panthers' offense sputtered for much of the second half in a 27-21 loss, Carolina's fourth consecutive setback at home. Newton ran for a touchdown and threw for two scores, but Carolina's defense was unable to make key stops on a pair of Washington field-goal drives in the final five minutes. The Panthers will look to get back to .500 with a Week 12 matchup against the surging Dolphins."

NFC South: Buccaneers 6th, Saints 18th, Falcons 24th

ANALYSIS: "Most memorable Thanksgiving game: Panthers stay undefeated with 33-14 win over Cowboys on Nov. 26, 2015

In their first and only Thanksgiving Day game, the Panthers made the most of it by returning two of Tony Romo's three interceptions for touchdowns and improved their record to 11-0. They also knocked Romo out of the game with a collarbone injury that already had forced him to miss seven games. Cam Newton, en route to the NFL MVP, didn't do much in this one outside of 12 rushes for 45 yards and a touchdown. It was the defense led by Luke Kuechly that carried the day. As Newton said, the defense brought its "A-game.''

CBS Sports
NFC South: Buccaneers 5th, Saints 19th, Falcons 26th

ANALYSIS: "Cam Newton brought some energy, but he didn't bring a victory. Losing to Washington is a bad loss for this group."

Bleacher Report
NFC South: Buccaneers 7th, Saints 19th, Falcons 27th

ANALYSIS: "Sunday's meeting with Washington was the first start of the second Newton era. And while the Panthers lost 27-21 to fall a game below .500 for the third time this season, Newton actually played fairly well: 189 passing yards, two scores and a passer rating of 120.5.

Still, the Panthers were outgained by a fair margin (369 yards to 297) in this game, and Carolina's vaunted pass defense allowed three touchdown passes from Washington's Taylor Heinicke.

The game was a reminder that while the Panthers aren't a bad team, they also aren't an especially good one. But with a beatable Miami Dolphins squad up next, there's a good chance the new Newton Panthers will hit the bye at 6-6."

Sports Illustrated
NFC South: Buccaneers 2nd, Saints 20th, Falcons 24th

ANALYSIS: "Their simplified passing game in Cam Newton’s first start (understandable, considering he’d been there for 10 days) was an issue against a Washington defense that’s been busting coverages regularly; maybe it was just a bad matchup. But the Panthers have the defense, and now the offensive identity, to be a playoff team, and a home loss to an inferior opponent is a red flag."

View all of the best photos from pre-game, in-game and post-game from Carolina's game against Washington.

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