Despite a win over the New Orleans Saints, the Carolina Panthers are not getting huge praise quite yet. In the latest iteration of SB Nation's power rankings the Panthers slot in at #22, a four spot rise from last week. In his grading SBN's Joel Thorman said of Carolina:
22. Carolina Panthers(LW: 23, 1-1): I'm having a little trouble ranking this team. I want to put them higher but I still don't have a very good grasp on who they are. A visit from the Giants in Week 3 will answer that question.
It seems harsh, especially in relation to the Saints, who Thorman has at 14th, even with their two losses. However, if I'm looking at this objectively it's fair. We know New Orleans are more talented than they've looked in each of the last two weeks– they've been the picture of under-achieving. What do we make of the Panthers though?
Abysmal in week one, solid in week two. It has been a Jekyll and Hyde start to the season. It's hard to know what the offensive identity really is, and Cam Newton is dead last in the NFL in QB rating on third down, which has to change. The run game was awful one week, great the next. Ultimately only the defense has been constant thus far, and they've been consistently okay, but nothing to write home about.
Thursday night is the litmus test for the Carolina Panthers. Both teams have faced the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and both struggled. The Giants managed to win, but this week's game will really let us know who the Panthers are. I'm okay with a #22 ranking given the circumstances.