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2021 NFL Power Rankings: Carolina Panthers

Throughout the 2021 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Here is where the Carolina Panthers rank in terms of average, best and worst:

Below you will find a Week 12 roundup for the Panthers in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 19

Most memorable Thanksgiving game: Panthers stay undefeated with 33-14 win over Cowboys on Nov. 26, 2015

In their first and only Thanksgiving Day game, the Panthers made the most of it by returning two of Tony Romo's three interceptions for touchdowns and improved their record to 11-0. They also knocked Romo out of the game with a collarbone injury that already had forced him to miss seven games. Cam Newton, en route to the NFL MVP, didn't do much in this one outside of 12 rushes for 45 yards and a touchdown. It was the defense led by Luke Kuechly that carried the day. As Newton said, the defense brought its "A-game.'' -- David Newton

NFL.com -- Rank: 20

Cam Newton played well in his return to Bank of America Stadium, but it was his former backup who stole the show. Taylor Heinicke lit up the Carolina defense for three touchdown passes and the Panthers' offense sputtered for much of the second half in a 27-21 loss, Carolina's fourth consecutive setback at home. Newton ran for a touchdown and threw for two scores, but Carolina's defense was unable to make key stops on a pair of Washington field-goal drives in the final five minutes. The Panthers will look to get back to .500 with a Week 12 matchup against the surging Dolphins.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 21

Cam Newton brought some energy, but he didn't bring a victory. Losing to Washington is a bad loss for this group.

USA Today -- Rank: 19

Really must have next two games (at Miami, Atlanta) if they're going to be relevant during season's final month. Good thing QB Cam Newton and RB Christian McCaffrey have baked-in chemistry as both try to navigate an offense neither has played in much.

The Athletic -- Rank: 22

Best side dish: Running backs may not have the value we were once led to believe, but there's no doubting the importance of Christian McCaffrey to the Panthers. He's averaging more than 120 yards of offense in his last three games since returning from injury. If he can stay healthy, the Panthers can make a charge at a wild-card playoff spot. Their next two games are against the Dolphins and Falcons, so there's no reason they shouldn't be 7-5 entering the stretch run.

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