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February 06, 2015

Panthers No. 13 in early NFL power rankings

If you like way-too-early power rankings, you’ll be pleased to know the Carolina Panthers will three-peat as NFC South champions and make the playoffs following the 2015 season.

NFL.com’s Elliot Harrison put the Panthers at No. 13 in his post-Super Bowl NFL power rankings in what expects will be a down year for the NFC South.

The Falcons (18), Saints (21) and Bucs (30) all trail the Panthers.

“Like the Chiefs [ranked one spot behind Carolina], the Panthers could use help at the wide receiver spot,” Harrison writes. “They also could use a full 16 games from running back Jonathan Stewart, who ran like Jerome Bettis circa 1996 over the back stretch of 2014. Carolina will only hit the skids if the defense regresses into the dysfunctional unit it was early on this past season.”

Harrison goes on to write that the Panthers don’t have to rebuild, but retool, to win a third consecutive division title.

All of this is well and good and should make Panthers fans feel happy, but there’s a lot of time between now and when the division crown will be decided. Free agency is still a month away and we’ll see if Dave Gettleman sticks to his word about upgrading from the dollar store.

The draft is just less than three months away, and there’s no clear idea what direction the Panthers will look at No. 25 until well after they’ve made their free agency pickups.

There’s no argument that the Patriots and Seahawks are 1-2 in the rankings. But the Lions are at No. 9 with the up-and-down Matt Stafford, and the Broncos are surprisingly low at No. 10. The main issue may come with the Texans sitting at No. 12 ahead of Carolina despite not having franchise quarterback.

--Jonathan Jones

Posted by Observer Sports on February 6, 2015 at 06:00 AM | Permalink


OT is our biggest need. But hopefully we can add a burner at WR in the draft too.

Posted by: ActinAFool | Feb 6, 2015 6:49:16 AM


In case you and the staff haven't noticed, we have a real playoff quality team that is prepped to make waves come post season. It's the NBA team, the Hornets. Have you heard of them? Let this horrid season of Panthers football end already. For all but the casual fan, this football season was an embarrassment and disappointment.

The Observer staff sure has issues understanding what a seven win season is deserving of.

Go Hornets!

Posted by: Truth | Feb 6, 2015 8:05:22 AM

Even though they were 12-4 last season, the Panthers look better and have more promise going into the next season than they did last year. The NFC South looks to be weak again but the Panthers, with a softer schedule, should have a much better record. The Falcons are low on overall talent, the Saints are old and salary-cap strapped, and the Bucs...are the Bucs. Three-peat for the NFC South is highly possible.

Posted by: PanthersD. | Feb 6, 2015 8:05:23 AM

actin a fool, stands by his moniker

Posted by: jon | Feb 6, 2015 8:50:03 AM

I would not say we have a softer schedule. The NFL East and AFC South have some good teams. Add Green Bay and Seattle and that is not soft.

Posted by: Robert popoff | Feb 6, 2015 10:27:39 AM

@PanthersD - a record of 12-4 last year? Try 7-8-1. Or were you asleep for 2014?

I like that the CO keeps refering to Cam as a franchise quarterback. I guarantee that his post season record (even if there is a 3peat of conference championships) will remain below .500 Cam is good but he is not great. If on a scale of 1-10 with a Brady or Wilson being a 10, then Cam was a 7 at best (and that is putting blame on the O-line).

Posted by: Richard Elliot | Feb 6, 2015 10:47:28 AM

This town is full of people who simply don't understand pro football. Worst of all, it seems the beat writers for the team share in the delusion.

I mean if one just read the headlines day in and day out covering everything from Cammie's fragrance line, to Hardy treating his wife like a punching bag, one could get the impression that we had a great team that has accomplished lots. What they did last year was lead the worst division in football. They were not deserving of a playoff spot. In any other year, we get blasted by 30 in the first round, but we got lucky and ended up playing a team on it's 5th QB.
The paper refuses to ask a single hard question of this team. They just keep force feeding the mindless masses this drivel. It's like watching Faux News. Facts and statistics do not matter, just keep repeating the script, and soon enough the sheeple follow.

The fact is this team's ownership/management is amongst the worst in pro sports. 20 years without back to back winning seasons is not only pathetic, it shows a flaw in the corporate philosophy.

We will never win a meaningful game with the Big Rat at the helm. Never. The paper, the fans, and the team deserve MUCH more. I for one can't wait to see where he has sold the team or has otherwise left his post. Then maybe I can get my money's worth of entertainment.

Posted by: CamMolestsCollies | Feb 6, 2015 11:13:19 AM

Richard, we Panther fans will be glad when you find another team to cheer for. We don't need fans like you. If you are so "embarrassed" and cant wait for the team to be sold why don't you just leave instead?

Posted by: Sandra | Feb 6, 2015 11:26:08 AM

the guy above clearly doesn't understand that pro football is built for parity where the vast majority of the franchises do NOT see back to back playoffs under any circumstance. the exceptions are the brady/manning type quarterbacks.....might be the wilson/luck quarterbacks going forward.

we have a well run franchise all in all. compare all 32 teams performance and we've gone further than many.

now.....the observer and other sports writers? yeah they don't sound very smart. that "cap hell" story gettleman sold them was a joke.

Posted by: charlottean | Feb 6, 2015 3:36:19 PM

Sandra & Jon, before you call out other posters, you might want to note that the comments belong to the name BELOW the comment, not above it. You both called out the wrong people. Jon, the "Who Cares?" comment came from "Truth" and Sandra, the "sold" comment came from the idiot calling himself "CamMolestsCollies"... which really tells you all you need to know about his comments!

That being said, I agree with your comments, you just went after the wrong targets.

Posted by: John | Feb 6, 2015 3:38:12 PM

You are wrong. Every single NFL team has had a back to back winning season in the last 20 years. Every single team. As I said, the Panthers as a franchise are the epitome of lower to middle of the pact. And apparently the fans and local media think that is all good. Sad.

Posted by: CamMolestsCollies | Feb 6, 2015 3:51:35 PM

@Richard Elliot- I meant Last Season, moron. That would be 2013-2014. Kind of OBVIOUS if you bother to think.

Posted by: PanthersD | Feb 6, 2015 5:47:57 PM

People should ignore the haters above- NOT REAL FANS. Go back to your Falcons and Saints websites, losers.

Posted by: PanthersD | Feb 6, 2015 5:49:34 PM

CMC- you're a naive no nothing fool whose as dumb as your screen name. Amongst the worst management in sports?- worse than the Raiders, the Browns, Jacksonville, the Sacramento Kings, the Brooklyn Nets, the Minnesota TWolves..... Now we know you're AN IDIOT. Stick to topics (like molesting dogs) that you actually know something about instead of poisoning people with your brain damage.

Posted by: PanthersD | Feb 6, 2015 6:01:05 PM

just mean people/

Posted by: Grace Brown | Feb 6, 2015 6:23:24 PM

Cam is still AWFUL!

Posted by: Cam is awful | Feb 6, 2015 8:01:02 PM

Non-supporters of this team, just shut up and leave. Root for another team. That is all.

Posted by: Haters Must Die | Feb 7, 2015 11:42:00 AM

Non-supporters of this team, just shut up and leave. Root for another team. That is all.

Posted by: Haters Must Die | Feb 7, 2015 11:42:00 AM

Defense needs to be consistent all year long .

Posted by: Sports Predictions | Feb 7, 2015 4:26:54 PM

Release the Kraken!!!

Posted by: The Kraken | Feb 8, 2015 9:48:38 AM

Power rankings are pointless before the draft.

Posted by: A fan | Feb 8, 2015 1:31:56 PM

back to back winning seasons? every franchise? have they done it in the modern era?

guess how many franchises have never played in a conference championship game.

guess how many have never played in a superbowl.

guess how many have made the playoffs less than we have since 95.

can't argue the facts. the league is DESIGNED for teams not to have back to back winning seasons anymore. you win 1 year, you get lower draft status and you get a harder schedule and more prime time games which means shorter weeks or odd schedules. and the hard salary cap and revenue sharing model keeps free agency in check to where when you win (like we did in 2013) you lose top guys because you can't afford to pay everybody (they chose hardy over mitchell, munnerlyn, lafell, ginn, etc).

again the exceptions are the elite, elite, elite QBs like manning or brady. they overcome that. they also get guys to play with them for cheap to chase a ring.

so our biggest shortcoming of the franchise is to not get lucky enough to get 1 of those 1 in 1000 guys. and to have injuries like everybody else.

look over our history.....2003 we almost pulled it off. as close as seattle was. 2004 was filled with injuries. 2005, we almost pulled it off. 2006 was filled with injuries. 2007 filled with injuries. 2008, solid year and playoffs. 2009, injuries. then the rebuild.

now guys like you wanted hurney gone so bad, they went and did it and brought in gettleman who wanted to fix the 12-4 team that hurney built during the rebuild and that led us to that 7-8-1 charity playoff birth. which was the first time in nfc south history to be back to back.

you can't cry about how bad we are when we are the only of the 4 division teams to have done that. no matter the circumstances.

be realistic and understand what the facts are. this franchise is far from bad. it's one of the better ones.

cleveland hasn't made the playoffs since 2002 with only 1 winning season. bills haven't been since 99. no 10 win seasons. raiders? rams haven't won since 2004. there are PLENTY of the 32 teams that haven't won in recent years.

Posted by: charlottean | Feb 8, 2015 9:00:41 PM

well said charlotttean.

Posted by: Jason | Feb 9, 2015 7:35:04 PM

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