Panthers in the Power Rankings: Week 9

James Bradberry power rankings graphic

Here's where the Panthers stand in various power rankings following their 42-28 win over the Buccaneers.

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

NFC South: Saints 1st, Panthers 6th, Falcons 16th, Buccaneers 25th
This week's opponent: Steelers 7th

Beyond the numbers: After watching the Panthers start 6-2, David Newton thinks both quarterback Cam Newton and the offensive line have answered the questions that have surrounded them since the preseason. David Newton also acknowledged that the O-line has played so well that it may have made it hard to see where left tackle Matt Kalil, who is eligible to return from the IR, will fit in the lineup.

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

NFC South: Saints 1st, Panthers 6th, Falcons 13th, Buccaneers 23rd
This week's opponent: Steelers 5th

Beyond the numbers: The B/R staff believes that it's time to insert the Panthers into the NFC contenders conversation, next to the Saints and Rams. A dominant stretch - five wins in the last six outings - has given the staff the confidence to write that "Carolina looks ready to take on just about anyone."

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

NFC South: Saints 2nd, Panthers 6th, Falcons 14th, Buccaneers 25th
This week's opponent: Steelers 7th

Beyond the numbers: Frank Schwab slots the Panthers next to the Chargers as the most under-the-radar teams in the NFL. Thursday night's nationally televised meeting with the Steelers could help to bring Carolina more to the forefront.

Panthers rank: 7th (3rd in NFC)
Previous rank: 8th

NFC South: Saints 1st, Panthers 7th, Falcons 14th, Buccaneers 24th
This week's opponent: Steelers 6th

Beyond the numbers: Pete Prisco writes that the Panthers have "turned their season around" after winning their last three games. Carolina's run also inspired Prisco to ask if the Panthers are ready to push the Saints for the NFC South crown. With four of their next five on the road, before playing New Orleans twice in their last three games, Carolina has a chance to make a serious statement.

View the top ten photos by team photographer Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez and second shooter Jason Miczek.

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