Panthers Take a Jump in Power Rankings to #20

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Since the Rams (3-4) remain a middling team it's not much of a jump.

The Panthers play the 0-6 Bucs this Thursday Night so another win against a bad team won't do much to turn the Panther detractors. Yet it does seem the rest of the league is taking notice of this team:

NFL power rankings, Week 8: A new team on top - SBNation.com
20. Carolina Panthers Cam Newton is off to a pretty good start this season. His completion rate is on target for a career-high 63 percent. His touchdown and interception numbers are about where they have been, but his stats were criminally overlooked amid a year of psychoanalysis by cable television last season. Ron Rivera has finally learned to beat the bad teams. He gets Tampa Bay next week for a chance to get .500, before a tougher divisional matchup against the Falcons.

When you combine Newton's improved play with the Top 5 defense this team might be able to make a run here mid-season instead of the end of season. I'm still not prepared to call this team a playoff caliber team, I need to see them beat a decent team as well. But I do like the trend and what we are seeing out of the offense the past couple of weeks.

On the rankings I still see some teams above them that I think we are better than. Of course count the Falcons in that crowd. We get to prove that though a week from Sunday when they come to town.

I think the Panthers are better than the Titans, Dolphins and Jets, the latter two we play on the field later this season. So I can see the Panthers cracking the top 15 soon if they keep it going and don't overlook the Bucs this Thursday.

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