NFL Power Rankings: Panthers Settle Near the Bottom

Officially eliminated from playoff consideration the Carolina Panthers have one final game remaining…

Playing on a Saturday because of the holiday weekend the Carolina Panthers unwrapped one of their more disappointing performances of the year. Falling to divisional rival Atlanta the Panthers’ passing of the torch among divisional opponents officially took place when Tampa Bay lost later in the afternoon securing the NFC South title for the Falcons.

Initially ranked near the top of every NFL power ranking poll following their Super Bowl 50 appearance, the Panthers will complete their fall from grace this weekend. Regardless of the outcome on Sunday Carolina failed to meet the expectations of many this season.

NFL.com – 24 (-3)

At halftime Saturday, Falcons defensive backs had run for more yards off of Cam Newton interceptions than Cam Newton had passing yards. Another clunky outing for the 2015 MVP, a guy who inexplicably played well last Monday night. Why inexplicable? Because games like his stinker versus the Falcons have been as much the norm for Newton as the mistake-free product he put out there versus the Redskins. Don’t see status quo heading into 2017 for the Panthers, whether that means Ron Rivera bolts west or not.

ESPN – 25 (-4)

Cam Newton is completing 45.3 percent of his passes in the Panthers’ past six games with a 39.0 Total QBR. That’s a far, far cry from the MVP-level performance he had last season. The Carolina Panthers disappointing season comes to an end this week at Tampa.

Dec 24, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman (24) gets tackled by Carolina Panthers outside linebacker Shaq Green-Thompson (54) in the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

CBS – 23 (-1)

The Super Bowl hangover is complete. They never could get it going.

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED – 23 (-4)

Cam Newton’s QB rating for the first half Saturday: 3.7. That’s 35.9 below what a quarterback scores if he just throws all incompletions. Newton headed to halftime 6 of 18 for 58 yards and two interceptions, a brutal showing in what has been a very disheartening season for the Carolina Panthers.

The Super Bowl Hangover was alive and well in Carolina as the Panthers inability to string together back-to-back winning seasons continues. On a positive note the last two times Carolina ended a season with seven wins they followed up with double-digit victories a season later.

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