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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 13 roundup for the Panthers in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 24

The Panthers are 2-4 since Week 6 despite getting key players such as RB Christian McCaffrey and LB Shaq Thompson back. The biggest issue -- among many -- has been poor quarterback play. First it was Sam Darnold, who had no touchdown passes and four interceptions during a three-game span before going on injured reserve. And he was looking shaky before that. Then Cam Newton entered the equation. After a solid start, his game fell apart on Sunday at Miami. Until that position stabilizes, the confidence level will continue to drop. -- David Newton

NFL.com -- Rank: 24

Week 12 represented a doomsday scenario for the 2021 Panthers. Consider the setbacks in a 33-10 loss to the Dolphins: Cam Newton imploded with a career-worst performance that once again led to Matt Rhule answering questions about who will be his starting quarterback moving forward. The defense -- the supposed bedrock of this team -- got pushed around for the second straight week. And then there's Christian McCaffrey, who suffered another injury -- this time to his ankle -- deemed severe enough to end his season. CMC has now lost back-to-back years of his prime to assorted ailments. The Panthers have to face some hard truths this offseason, including the wisdom of building an offense around a supremely talented but injury-prone running back.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 24

It's obvious that Cam Newton isn't rescuing this team or getting them to the playoffs. He's struggling and now won't have Christian McCaffrey the rest of the way.

USA Today -- Rank: 27

Bummer to see another abbreviated season for RB Christian McCaffrey. But in reality? Carolina has lost 15 of its last 20 with CMc in the lineup, so …

The Athletic -- Rank: 24

Problem area: The passing game. The Panthers rank second-to-last in Football Outsiders' passing offense DVOA. Translated: Only the Lions have a less-efficient passing offense. From Teddy Bridgewater last season to Sam Darnold earlier this season and now Cam Newton, Matt Rhule and his staff have been searching for an answer at quarterback. They have one of the best defenses in football and have run the ball well at times, but the passing game is going to hold them back until they find an answer at quarterback. With Christian McCaffrey now out for the season, the Panthers can't turn to him to cover up their offensive flaws.

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