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November 18, 2008

Are 8-2 Panthers the NFL's 9th best team?

To follow up on our story in today's paper about how the Panthers are flying "under the radar" in the NFL despite their 8-2 record, the latest Top 15 rankings by Sports Illustrated's Peter King serves as evidence.

King, one of the best and most plugged-in observers of the league, ranked the Panthers No. 9 this week in his always-interesting Monday Morning Quarterback column despite the fact that they have the league's third best record.

King called the Panthers the "quietest 8-2 team in recent NFL history" and "perhaps the most suspect."

He rates Carolina behind three 6-4 teams -- Indianapolis (ranked third), Baltimore (fifth) and New England (seventh).

So are the Panthers, with almost all their starters healthy except for center Ryan Kalil, worse than the Patriots, who have lost Tom Brady, several running backs and other front line players for the season due to injuries?

Is Carolina inferior to Baltimore, which starts rookie Joe Flacco at quarterback?

Are the Panthers suspect -- or just disrespected?

We'll find out in these next six games.

-- Charles Chandler

Posted by Observer Sports on November 18, 2008 at 10:14 AM | Permalink


Thats what happens when you fall behind and can barely win games against the NFL's most dysfunctional teams (Detroit & Raiders). It's not disrespect it's just the truth. With almost all our starters playing that even makes it worst.

The Panthers will not get respect if our QB can only muster 74 yards 4 ints vs Oaklands Defense and only 90+ yards againt a JV secondary that Detroit has. Do not get me wrong I like Jake, I think he is one of the best Panthers QB but Jake has a way of getting into a slump and right now Jake is into a slump. Jake and the WR corps must step up in the next six weeks or else we might not be even in the playoffs (I hope not).

Posted by: Chief_of_Omaha | Nov 18, 2008 10:31:44 AM

To answer your question, we're disrespected. And it's not just Peter King. Here's what I sarcastically sent to Michael Silver, who also only concentrates on the so-called "Glamour Teams".

"Michael, the Panthers have the third best record in the NFL. Thank God you haven't fallen into that trap of reporting on them. We don't want to hear about how they're undefeated at home. Let's hear more about the Cowboys and how they are tied with eight other teams for the eight best record in the NFL. Give us much much much more information about the Cowboys twentieth best defense and fourteenth best offense in the NFL."

Posted by: charlesbright | Nov 18, 2008 10:37:54 AM

To answer your question, we're disrespected. And it's not just Peter King. Here's what I sarcastically sent to Michael Silver, who also only concentrates on the so-called "Glamour Teams".

"Michael, the Panthers have the third best record in the NFL. Thank God you haven't fallen into that trap of reporting on them. We don't want to hear about how they're undefeated at home. Let's hear more about the Cowboys and how they are tied with eight other teams for the eight best record in the NFL. Give us much much much more information about the Cowboys twentieth best defense and fourteenth best offense in the NFL."

Posted by: charlesbright | Nov 18, 2008 10:43:33 AM

Did I not say this on Monday???

Posted by: Steven | Nov 18, 2008 10:49:06 AM

I wrote this yesterday. Thanks Charles for taking my material. Just kidding.

Does anyone else have a problem with Peter King. Not only is his Monday Morning Quarterback articles always about the same teams, (i.e. Steelers, Cowboys, Redskins, etc.) he never writes about the Panthers. This week in his "Fine 15" he rates the Panthers at 9. The same team with the 3rd best record in football.

Posted by: Steven | Nov 17, 2008 10:33:13 AM

Posted by: Steven | Nov 18, 2008 10:50:55 AM

I don't necessarily agree with Peter King's assessment of the Panther's, but you have to agree a little bit. The last few games have been one by the defense and our talented 1-2 punch of Williams and Stewart. Jake Delhomme and Steve Smith have been pretty much not existent. I would put them in the top 7 of the NFL, but there are certainly teams playing better football with less of a record. Time will tell as they have two tough road games ahead of them.

Posted by: Torrey | Nov 18, 2008 11:02:23 AM

King does write about the Panthers in MMQB. Why, he's featured them a grand total of twice there since he started writing it years ago (the last time being with Vinny).

If you ain't a big fanbase team and you don't have a star QB and you aren't based along the NYC-Boston-DC axis, don't expect King to notice you.

Posted by: JDB | Nov 18, 2008 11:08:47 AM

Fortunately the NFL is not college football and there is no BCS to determine who is best. Peter King's conjecture, along with that of the other experts, will be answered factually by the playoffs. Besides all that, PK with his coffee nerdness, things he thinks he thinks, uncomfortable obsession with his own family and the like isn't worth the time to read much less worry about.

Posted by: Nate | Nov 18, 2008 11:13:42 AM

Ugly wins are still wins. They wouldnt be the Cardiac Cats otherwise. But now that the cake schedule is done, we'll see where we really stand among those who can pull out the tough W's. Under the radar isn't necessarily a bad thing, just look at where the Giants were this time last season....

Posted by: Joshua T | Nov 18, 2008 11:15:48 AM

It sure is dark in here, up my own butt. Be sure to check in next week when I'll tell why the Panthers' victory over ATL didn't impress me at all.

Posted by: Peter King's head | Nov 18, 2008 11:23:24 AM

How would he know what the Panthers look like? He is to busy writing about my team. When he is not writing about the Cowboys, he is writing about the Steelers, Patriots, Giants, and Jets.

Posted by: Tony Romo | Nov 18, 2008 11:35:37 AM

This is the same way we were winning games in 2003, so I can live with it. Peter King can eat it.

Posted by: Justin | Nov 18, 2008 11:47:27 AM

Hey, Jake and the recieving core beat out the Cardinals didn't they. I would say that Jake is streaky. He usually steps up to the big game or moment, but falls short against the lowly teams. Maybe that's a coaching issue?
Oh well, its good to see them 8-2, but King is right.
I have a feeling that they can beat any team, but not the confidence that they're going to beat any team. Know what I mean - Suspect

Posted by: jakeslump | Nov 18, 2008 11:47:58 AM

Unless we get more out of Delhomme. Your answer in not NFL's 9th best team.

Posted by: par404 | Nov 18, 2008 12:04:08 PM

wow... you don't hear these terrible Charlotte Observer sports writers saying John Fox should be fired anymore

Posted by: Luke | Nov 18, 2008 12:08:00 PM

the last two games, plus the Tampa Loss, plus a relatively weak schedule while not being in a major TV market equals no-respect.

if panthers go 4-2 last 6 games i'll be happy but they'll be 12-4 team that gets no respect

Posted by: jp | Nov 18, 2008 12:08:49 PM

Moron. Just because the Panthers didn't beat the Raiders or the Lions by 30 doesn't mean they 'barely' won. 11 and 9 points are considered pretty large margins in the NFL. Anybody watching the Raiders game never doubted the outcome - they were never threatened. Sure the offense didn't rack up the stats in either game, but they won each handily, if not easily.

The Jets are ranked 6th in his estimation, and they lost to Oakland and squeaked one out at home (4pts) against mighty KC. The unbeatable Giants blasted the Bengals by a whopping 3pts at the Meadowlands and got blown out by a bad Cleveland team. Are they suspect? No team hits on all cylinders most games - the best teams blow out other teams a couple of times a year and just win the rest. Are the Panthers the best team in the league? Absolutely not at this point, but they don't hand out the trophy at this point either. They also aren't #9, and anyone outside of the northeast corrider knows that. I guess you have to be undefeated or have Peyton Manning on your team to be ranked in the top 7 unless you are within an easy drive of Peter's house.

Posted by: Omaha Idiot | Nov 18, 2008 12:19:23 PM

Don't blame Peter. He has had Panthers as high as number four in his list just a few weeks ago. But when the Panthers (with all their starters healthy - sic!) barely beat two of the worst teams in the NFL he moved Carolina down. And rightfully so.

Posted by: voron | Nov 18, 2008 12:29:47 PM

These victories - especially against the Lions - aren't suspect at all. They're wins. And a fifty point win counts the same as a one point win. Two reasons we didn't blow out the Lions: 1) The Lions just want a win. Badly. Each week that goes by, they're playing harder and harder. 2) No team in the playoff hunt is going to go all out to beat the Lions. We didn't show very much Sunday, especially on offense. It was very vanilla. Why give other playoff teams more tape to watch? Bottom line? We played well enough to win both games and we're 8-2. You'll see more intensity against Atlanta because they're a better opponent and you'll see a more complex game plan, as well.

Posted by: Dan | Nov 18, 2008 12:33:51 PM

please keep this on the low. shoot...we can be ranked 32 for all I care...as long as our record is still in the top three in the league we'll be ok...we seem to have more problems when people pick us to win, then when they pick against us. Example being 2006 after we went to the NFC championship and everyone picked us for the superbowl winners...lol...keep it up King....next week after we beat Atlanta make us number 15. PLEASE!!!!

Posted by: Clayton | Nov 18, 2008 12:42:38 PM

More doubt from the National Media - FOX Sports.com "Things we learned in Week 11"

The Panthers are bored out of their minds
Can't blame Panthers fans if they wonder if their favorite team is truly ready for elite status, not after Carolina took the sleepwalking approach through its past two wins — an ugly Week 10 17-6 win in Oakland, then struggling past the winless Lions at home Sunday, 31-22. John Fox teams have always seemed to win ugly, but scuffling against two of the league's doormats is not a good sign. At 8-2, the Panthers must wake up starting this week — with back-to-back roadies against Atlanta and Green Bay followed by games against the Bucs, Broncos, Giants and Saints in Carolina's drive for the NFC South title and a possible first-round playoff bye.

It must really irk you to see a team in your own division ranked ahead of you...albeit a team that exposed the Panthers offense & defense as frauds.

Excerpt from SI.com - Peter King's - Fine Fifteen rankings....

8. Tampa Bay (7-3). I agree with Jon Gruden. That's one heck of a defense -- and an under-appreciated one -- in Tampa.

9. Carolina (8-2). Quietest 8-2 team in recent NFL history. And perhaps the most suspect.

Hmmmmm...heres a thought about Jake being streaky and stepping up against the better teams but playing poorly against the lower ones...what happened in Tampa? If thats a lower echelon team funny how they're ranked ahead of the Mighty Carolina Panthers.

Posted by: rob20819 | Nov 18, 2008 12:43:55 PM

First of all, I dont care a rat's *** as to what Peter King thinks. Also, even if for a minute that the rankings are worth our time, it is a week to week thing..Carolina played badly against Raiders and Lions and deserved to be knocked down..the best way to punch King in his face is by going out and doing it against the Falcons, Bucs and the Giants..If we can do that, the rankings will take care of themselves.

Posted by: PantherPride | Nov 18, 2008 1:07:11 PM

Peter King is an idiot. Not because he ranks the Panthers 9th, but just because he is. The guy is so far up Brett Favre's butt all the time and all he cares about is text messaging with the "elite" players in the league. He is just a ed/op guy who is not that smart nor does he ever really give any decent insight. For that matter most of the guys on NBC's Sunday Night Football are morons. Keith 'Obama'erman and Tiki are horrible commentators. They are too cute and try too hard, ala Dennis Miller and Kornheiser. I think that most real football fans appreciate guys like Tom Jackson, Jaws and John Maddon.

Posted by: Chris | Nov 18, 2008 1:10:22 PM

I don't even watch that Sunday Night NBC Show anymore. I'd rather watch highlights on NFL Network or ESPN News

Posted by: Dwayne | Nov 18, 2008 1:13:24 PM

The Panthers always play down to the level of their opponents. When they play good teams its tight and when they play bad teams its tight. That to me seems to be a more of a coaching philosphy. John Fox coaches not lose, but sometimes that sets them up to lose. This coaching style plays to the tone that we are, Cardic Cats. John Fox is happy with Jake, long as Jake doesn't make alot of mistakes. The thing is with Jake that he is streaky. He will not have more than 2 bad games in which he causes them to lose. Which never puts pressure on John Fox. Fox is stubborn, loyal and bullheaded, but he forgets the one time he was quick on the trigger to yank a player. That was the one instance that catapulted them into the playoffs.(Jake replaced Rodney Peete)Now only the pressures of getting fired does he make changes that need to be made. You think the running game would be fine with Foster in the back field? What bout Colbert the second receiver? Where are those two now? How many seasons did we say there need to be a change there? Rememeber Beason wasn't really drafted to replace Dan Morgan. It was becuase that was all they had. All in all John Fox is the Panthers own worst enemy. All teams are design to fit there coach's style. What style does John Fox has?

Posted by: DMANGQ | Nov 18, 2008 1:46:50 PM

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