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Power rankings: Week 1


At the end of the day, NFL power rankings mean about as much as WWE power rankings.

Yet we can't help but look at them.

Throughout the season, will save you the searching by listing prominent power rankings and even throwing in our two cents on top of the pollsters' two cents.

Here's a look at the final set of rankings with everyone still 0-0.

Panthers' rank: 11 (5th in NFC)

Previous ranking: 11

NFC South: 3. Saints, 11. Panthers, 19. Falcons, 20. Buccaneers

NFL Top 5: Seahawks, Broncos, Saints, Packers, Patriots

Beyond the numbers: Elliot Harrison predicts that wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin will post 800 yards and score at least six touchdowns as a rookie, but Harrison is concerned about quarterback Cam Newton's ability to be a difference-maker on the ground coming off ankle surgery. Despite that concern, he in effect lists the Panthers as a playoff team entering the season – a rare vote of confidence from a national writer this offseason.

Panthers' rank: 14 (8th in NFC)

Previous ranking: 15

NFC South: 3. Saints, 14. Panthers, 19. Falcons, 23. Buccaneers

NFL Top 5: Seahawks, Broncos, Saints, Patriots, Packers

Beyond the numbers: Dan Schneier likes the receiving corps as a whole better than last year's but believes the offensive line could be a real issue. Like the other pollsters listed, he ranks NFC South rival New Orleans in his top five.

Panthers' rank: 22 (11th in NFC)

Previous ranking: 21

NFC South: 5. Saints, 10. Falcons, 22. Panthers, 23. Buccaneers

NFL Top 5: Broncos, Packers, Seahawks, Patriots, Saints

Beyond the numbers: Pete Prisco also is concerned about the offensive line as well as the secondary, adding "I just think they are in for a fall down the standings." Prisco's mention of the secondary qualifies as the only mention by any of the pollsters of a Panthers defense that ranked second only to the Super Bowl champion Seahawks last season.

Panthers' rank: 15 (8th in NFC)

Previous rank: 11

NFC South: 5. Saints, 15. Panthers, 17. Falcons, 19. Buccaneers

NFL Top 5: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers, Saints

Beyond the numbers: The staff hones in on a familiar refrain, pointing out that Newton's receiving group is entirely new. Since the last set of rankings came out post-draft, the Panthers have been passed by the Bears, Chargers, Ravens and Steelers.

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