Panthers in the Power Rankings: Week 15

Power-Rankings_CMC

Here's where the Panthers stand in various power rankings following their 12-9 loss to the Saints on Monday Night Football.

Panthers rank: 16th (8th in NFC)

Previous rank: 16th

NFC South: Saints 1st, Panthers 16th, Falcons 22nd, Buccaneers 24th

This week's opponent: Falcons 22nd

Beyond the numbers: The ESPN staff chose each team's "Breakthrough Player of the Year" and running back Christian McCaffrey got the nod for Carolina. David Newton also praised McCaffrey - who has upped his per carry average from 3.7 yards last year to 5.2 this season - for being a "complete back."

Panthers rank: 18th (8th in NFC)

Previous rank: 18th

NFC South: Saints 1st, Panthers 18th, Buccaneers 23rd, Falcons 24th

This week's opponent: Falcons 24th

Beyond the numbers: On the heels of Cam Newton's candid postgame presser, Frank Schwab has a urgent message. Although Schwab credited the quarterback for playing through his discomfort, he believes that following the team's sixth straight loss "the Panthers need to shut Cam Newton down for the season."

Panthers rank: 19th (9th in NFC)

Previous rank: 21st

NFC South: Saints 1st, Panthers 19th, Falcons 23rd, Buccaneers 27th

This week's opponent: Falcons 23rd

Beyond the numbers: The B/R staff echoed a growing sentiment in their take on the state of the Panthers: sit Newton as the season winds down.

Panthers rank: 20th (9th in NFC)

Previous rank: 20th

NFC South: Saints 1st, Panthers 20th, Falcons 26th, Buccaneers 28th

This week's opponent: Falcons 26th

Beyond the numbers: Pete Prisco doesn't have a bright outlook on the franchise's future after Monday's loss to New Orleans. Despite holding the Saints to 12 points - their second fewest total this season - the Panthers managed to score just nine points and total 247 yards on offense. New Orleans' time of possession (35:09) also proved to be a factor, as Carolina maintained possession for 24:51.

Panthers rank: 23rd (10th in NFC)

Previous rank: 22nd

NFC South: Saints 1st, Panthers 23rd, Falcons 24th, Buccaneers 28th

This week's opponent: Falcons 24th

Beyond the numbers: With the math still slightly in its favor, Elliot Harrison quipped that Carolina could make the playoffs with "two wins, a TI-81 graphing calculator and pretty much every other team in the league losing." Harrison also voiced his concern for Newton's shoulder, and feels the sooner he sits and no longer has to choose between being on a pitch count or full practice, the better.

View the top photos from Panthers vs. Saints by team photographer, Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez, and second shooters Tori Richman and Jacob Kupferman.

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