Panthers come back from the dead in post-Week 10 power rankings

·3 min read

After receiving what looked to be their last rites, the Carolina Panthers have risen.

And thanks to the return of a certain quarterback and an unbelievable upset win over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 10, they’ve also risen up the power rankings.

USA TODAY

Author: Nate Davis
Rank: 17 (+9)
Author’s take: “As prodigal son Cam Newton prepares to reclaim QB1 status in Carolina, you have to wonder if injured Sam Darnold – he’s guaranteed nearly $19 million in 2022 – is already entering the backup phase of a career that doesn’t yet span four seasons.”

Touchdown Wire

Author: Nick Wojton
Rank: 19 (+3)
Author’s take: “What a twist have the Panthers become in recent days? Their win against the Cards, 34-10, wasn’t all that impressive against some backups… but Cam Newton is back. Who would’ve saw that storyline coming? He had two touchdowns in their latest win and could now be their starter.

NFL.com

Author: Dan Hanzus
Rank: 19 (+6)
Author’s take: “Cam Newton is back and scoring touchdowns, Christian McCaffrey is healthy and living in the second level of defenses, and the Panthers are once again a credible NFC playoff contender. Newton had a surprise supporting role in Week 10, accounting for two touchdowns and a downfield pass that resulted in a defensive pass interference call in a 34-10 win over the Cardinals. Coach Matt Rhule said Monday that Newton will work with the first-team offense this week in practice, a sure sign the former MVP will replace P.J. Walker as starter on Sunday against Washington. This all remains a bit, well, weird considering the circumstances that led to Newton’s exit from Charlotte — but Rhule and Panthers brass deserve some credit for putting the greater good ahead of pride.”

ESPN

Author: David Newton
Rank: 17 (+7)
Author’s take: “I easily could have gone with one or both of two games against NFC South rival Tampa Bay in the final month of the season, since Carolina likely will need to win one to make the playoffs. I went with Washington because the Panthers have lost three straight at home and must take care of business at Bank of America Stadium to make the Bucs games meaningful. This will be emotional because it’s the return of former Carolina coach Ron Rivera and Cam Newton’s return as the starter. A dud here would be a huge blow following a big win on Sunday at Arizona.”

Our final take:

The Panthers really did seem close to death just seven days ago. Not only did they lose five of their previous six games, but they were also thrown further down the grave with the unfortunate injury to starter Sam Darnold.

Luckily, their messiah has arrived. Newton has re-energized this team, its fanbase and its playoff hopes—now giving Carolina a viable presence under center to feed its potent weapons and complement a top-notch defense.

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