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Panthers in the Power Rankings: Week 5

Kuechly power rankings graphic

Here's where the Panthers stand in various power rankings heading into their next matchup against the Washington Redskins.

Panthers rank: 5th (3rd in NFC)
Previous rank: 5th

NFC South: Saints 3rd, Panthers 5th, Buccaneers 19th, Falcons 24th
This week's opponent: Redskins 18th

Beyond the numbers: For the third straight week, the Panthers rank fifth on Elliot Harrison's list. Harrison credits Graham Gano's 63-yard field goal to beat New York as not only "one of the most clutch kicks in NFL history" but also the safety net that "bailed out" the defense after allowing a crucial Giants catch late in the game.

Harrison did commend new safety Eric Reid, who made his debut in Week 5, saying it was nice to see him get the start as he's been solid since being drafted in 2013. "Welcome back," he concluded.

Panthers rank: 5th (3rd in NFC)
Previous rank: 6th

NFC South: Saints 4th, Panthers 5th, Buccaneers 16th, Falcons 24th
This week's opponent: Redskins 15th

Beyond the numbers: Frank Schwab believes Curtis Samuel's re-emergence will bring a big boost to Norv Turner's offense, citing his dynamic 25-yard touchdown run as a great sign. "Samuel is a big-play receiver, a second-round pick just a year ago, and he can really help the Panthers offense if he stays healthy," wrote Schwab.

Panthers rank: 6th (4th in NFC)
Previous rank: 8th

NFC South: Saints 4th, Panthers 6th, Buccaneers 23rd, Falcons 28th
This week's opponent: Redskins 14th

Beyond the numbers: Pete Prisco notes that the Panthers will have a tough road test in Washington after narrowly beating the Giants. The Redskins are 1-1 at home and on the road. In their last win at FedEx Field - a 31-17 victory over Green Bay - the defense sacked quarterback Aaron Rodgers four times and while the offense netted 386 total yards to the Packers' 340.

Panthers rank: 8th (4th in NFC)
Previous rank: 11th

NFC South: Saints 4th, Panthers 8th, Falcons 19th, Buccaneers 22nd
This week's opponent: Redskins 17th

Beyond the numbers: The Panthers come in at third on the rest-of-season SOS ranking. The FPI highlights the Week 10 road matchup against Pittsburgh as the team's toughest remaining game, giving Carolina a 30% chance to win. Apparently, a Week 15 date against Drew Brees and the soaring Saints at Bank of America Stadium wouldn't fall into that category.

Panthers rank: 7th (4th in NFC)
Previous rank: 10th

NFC South: Saints 3rd, Panthers 7th, Buccaneers 16th, Falcons 23rd,
This week's opponent: Redskins 15th

Beyond the numbers: "Graham Gano deserves a raise." This was the first takeway the B/R staff wanted to make clear after Carolina's Week 5 win. B/R NFL analyst Brad Gagnon still has faith in Cam Newton and the Panthers but is growing weary after the team let the lead slip away late.

"I know a win's a win," Gagnon said, "but it's rather embarrassing that the Panthers needed a miraculous walk-off field goal to beat the lowly Giants at home coming off a bye week. They're still a contender, but I'm worried about a potential lack of consistency."

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