Panthers in the power rankings before Week 7

NFC South: Buccaneers 6th, Saints 10th, Falcons 25th

ANALYSIS: "The three-game winning streak is kaput because the Panthers' offense had a bad day at the office. Teddy Bridgewater struggled against a consistent Bears pass rush, and Carolina's red-zone issues were magnified in a 23-16 loss. Bridgewater was constantly on the run and sacked four times, a far cry from the past two weeks, when the QB wasn't sacked once. D.J. Moore had three drops, Mike Davis fumbled deep in Carolina territory and Bridgewater threw the game-deciding pick in the final minutes. The Panthers have proven they can win -- and even thrive -- without Christian McCaffrey, but his absence is more apparent when the level of competition jumps up a notch."

NFC South: Buccaneers 7th, Saints 9th, Falcons 28th

ANALYSIS: "With Short alongside first-round pick Derrick Brown, this front four had a chance to be something special this year. They had two players who would demand double-teams, get a solid inside push and free up the edge rushers. Without Short, there's more pressure on Brown and Zach Kerr to step up. It also puts more pressure on the depth at tackle, which could be a factor deep in the season. It might ultimately lead to Carolina playing more three-man fronts, which isn't necessarily a bad thing with the speed the Panthers have on the edge from players such as Brian Burns."

NFC South: Buccaneers 7th, Saints 12th, Falcons 25th

ANALYSIS: "Their little winning streak ended with the home loss to the Bears. The offense didn't do enough, which has to be a concern."

Pro Football Talk
NFC South: Buccaneers 8th, Saints 9th, Falcons 25th

ANALYSIS: "They're still overachieving, and laying the foundation for a bright future."

NFC South: Buccaneers 7th, Saints 9th, Falcons 28th

ANALYSIS: "Week 6 presented the Carolina Panthers with a golden opportunity. After peeling off three consecutive wins to get above .500, the Panthers faced their biggest test of 2020: a home date with the one-loss Bears.

The Panthers needed such a win both to bolster their resume and to keep pace with the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC South. Alas, their offense struggled in the 23-16 loss.

The Panthers mustered only 112 yards on the ground, averaging less than four yards per carry. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater wasn't sharp, throwing a pair of interceptions and posting a passer rating of 50.4. Carolina turned it over three times and converted only three of their 13 third-down attempts.

"The Panthers appear to be stuck in the in-between," Davenport said. "If Sunday's loss was any indication, they aren't on the level of the Saints or Buccaneers. But they could be good enough to challenge for one of the NFC's three wild-card spots. They could change that narrative with a win next week in New Orleans, but they'll need a much sharper effort than we saw against the Bears to pull that off."

View the best photos from behind the scenes of Carolina's Week 6 game against Chicago.

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