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Panthers in the power rankings before Week 16

NFC South: Saints 4th, Buccaneers 12th, Falcons 23rd

ANALYSIS: "The Panthers have now lost eight games this season by one possession. That sustained level of competitive play shows fighting spirit, sure, but also exposes the inability to close out games and make the big play in critical situations. Which takes us to Saturday night, a 24-16 loss to the Packers, in which Teddy Bridgewater's goal-line fumble acted as Carolina's latest "What if?" moment. "I told him from Day 1, we don't reach the ball across the goal line," Matt Rhule told NFL Network's Melissa Stark at halftime. It was a frustrated lament from a head coach who believes his team is better than its 4-10 record indicates."

NFC South: Saints 4th, Buccaneers 11th, Falcons 27th

ANALYSIS: "Most underrated star: DE/OLB Brian Burns

The Panthers have only two real difference-makers on defense: Burns and rookie Jeremy Chinn. Chinn gets more publicity because he's in the running for Defensive Rookie of the Year. His historic game against Minnesota, in which he returned consecutive fumbles for touchdowns, also helped. But the pressure Burns puts on quarterbacks, despite having only six sacks, has been key to Carolina's defensive success."

NFC South: Saints 5th, Buccaneers 8th, Falcons 27th

ANALYSIS: "They competed against the Packers, but the losing continues. They can't seem to find a way to win a game after a solid start."

Pro Football Talk
NFC South: Saints 4th, Buccaneers 11th, Falcons 19th

ANALYSIS: "A pair of season-ending, draft-enhancing losses will do much more for the team over the long haul than winning those games."

NFC South: Saints 4th, Buccaneers 9th, Falcons 29th

ANALYSIS: "When Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater fumbled on a quarterback sneak at the Green Bay 1-yard line in the second quarter of Saturday's loss to the Packers, it just about summed up their 2020 season.

The Panthers have come close in a number of games, only to eventually fall short.

After the game, Bridgewater admitted to reporters that unforced errors like Saturday's gaffe have cost the Panthers dearly in 2020:

'I think we're realizing if we just do it the way we're coached, in all three phases, it works. I think what happens is, we get to that moment sometimes, we think we have to do something a little different, for instance me on the quarterback sneak. And if I continue to just trust my coaching, and do it the way I'm told, then we're celebrating going into the locker room, as opposed to learning new lessons each week.'

There is at least one silver lining to the Week 15 loss: It keeps Carolina in the hunt for a top-five draft pick."

Carolina is 7-10 against Washington all-time in the regular season.

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