SBN now has the Panthers ranked #18 overall, up a few spots from the last time the rankings were compiled.
NFL power rankings 2013: 49ers, Broncos Super Bowl favorites? - SBNation.com
18. Carolina Panthers (Cat Scratch Reader) Ron Rivera is promising to run the ball some more this year. Unfortunately, the Panthers won't have Jonathan Stewart to start the season. Cam Newton has the talent, but his receivers are lacking, outside of ageless wonder Steve Smith. At least the much improved defense looks able to score some points of its own.
I would say that victory over the Ravens left an impact on a few pundits around the league. At #18 it puts us behind the Falcons (#2) and Saints (#13) but ahead of the Bucs (#22). I think the Saints are vastly over-rated by most as that defense is going to struggle adjusting the 3-4 and the injuries they have. If anything the Bucs might be a little better than the Panthers on paper but certainly not the Saints.
As you might expect ESPN holds not such view of the Panthers in a #18 position:
NFL Power Rankings Week 1 - National Football League - ESPN
Panthers running backs are the sixth-most expensive unit in the league, yet QB Cam Newton led the team in rush yards and touchdowns. Carolina needs more from its rushing unit.
I'm really getting tired of hearing how much our RBs are getting paid and how that is the reason for our past failures. Though the Panthers didn't run the ball as well in 2012 it still WAS NOT the reason this team failed to win more games, in my humble opinion obviously. Just winning will put that all aside, especially a win this weekend against the preseason SB-predicted darling Seahawks.
I'm sure we are big time dogs to the 'Hawks on the betting lines as most seem to forget that we nearly beat them last year in a 4 point loss. We should have beat them actually but I doubt that would have mattered at this point anyway. What I do love about this though is the preseason 'darling' teams seem to always falter. Remember the Eagles 'dream team' and what happened to them? S it will be fun to hear the pundits backtrack once we put the hurtin' on the Seahawks this Sunday!