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Panthers in the power rankings before Week 2


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 1st, Saints 10th, Falcons 28th

ANALYSIS: "Sam Darnold got his Revenge Game, but the most exciting development to come out of a 19-14 win over the Jets was a Carolina defensive front seven that used speed and athleticism to completely outclass its opponent. Brian Burns and Shaq Thompson led a swarming Panthers defense that had rookie Zach Wilson running for his life from the first series. Darnold overcame some early miscues to deliver a strong performance in his Panthers debut, while Christian McCaffrey -- a ho-hum 187 total yards -- was back to looking like the best running back in football. These Panthers could be frisky."

NFC South: Buccaneers 2nd, Saints 9th, Falcons 27th

ANALYSIS: "Top rookie: CB Jaycee Horn

Horn wasn't perfect, as he did give up an 8-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, but that was on a perfect pass from Zach Wilson to Corey Davis. What he didn't do in playing all but one defensive snap was give up anything big down the field. He kept the plays in front of him and his man-to-man coverage allowed the defensive front to pressure Wilson. Not a bad start for the son of former NFL receiver Joe Horn."

NFC South: Buccaneers 1st, Saints 6th, Falcons 29th

ANALYSIS: "They did some good things in beating the Jets, but they have to be better than that going forward. It sure has to be good to have Christian McCaffrey back running the football."

NFC South: Buccaneers 1st, Saints 10th, Falcons 31st

ANALYSIS: "They say that revenge is a dish best served cold. If that's the case, then Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold must have been feeling pretty frosty Sunday.

Granted, it was a hardly a blowout. But Darnold got a measure of payback against the team that he spent his first three seasons with, throwing for 279 yards and a long score to another ex-Jet, Robby Anderson.

Darnold and Anderson weren't the only players on Carolina's offense that showed up. Tailback Christian McCaffrey turned 30 touches into 187 total yards. Wide receiver D.J. Moore caught six of eight targets for 80 yards. Carolina's defense notched six sacks and allowed just 252 total yards.

It was a good performance on both sides of the ball, but it also came against one of the league's worst teams.

A much stiffer test awaits in Week 2 against a New Orleans Saints team that just smoked the Green Bay Packers."

The Panthers trail the all-time series against the Saints, 27-29. Carolina has played New Orleans more than any other team in its history.

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