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NFL Carolina Panthers

NFL Power Rankings: Carolina Panthers Free Fall

Jeremy Brevard-US Presswire

Wednesday has arrived and Sunday can’t get here fast enough for the Carolina Panthers, who probably want to forget about all of the negative attention they endured following their week three letdown. First, they must face the punishment that was sure to be dealt their way in this week’s Power Rankings from RantSports.com and FoxSports.com.

The Panthers fell to 1-2 on the season after the 36-7 beatdown they received last Thursday night at the hands of the New York Giants. The Giants looked far more superior, clearly exposing Carolina’s issues on both sides of the ball, issues the Panthers must address before they face the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

The Panthers got little to no pressure at all on Giants quarterback Eli Manning in week three, seemingly allowing the two-time Super Bowl MVP to pick the Panthers apart. What Manning and the Giants’ offensive line exposed was Carolina’s lack of talent on the defensive line.

With Carolina running a 4-3 defense, they must rely heavily on their four down linemen not only to put pressure on the opposing quarterback, but to aid in stopping the run up the middle and holding the outside with their defensive ends.

Those basic concepts for Carolina’s down four were non-existent against the Giants and Manning along with running back Andre Brown exposed Carolina’s deficiency to execute a proper 4-3 defense.

Where does this leave the Panthers?

Rant Sports has Carolina ranked 27th, five spots back from the 22nd spot last week.

Rant Sports NFL columnist Jeff Shull writes, “The Carolina Panthers were demolished by the Giants, and their win against the Saints is looking less and less impressive.”

Fox Sports also has Carolina ranked 27th, dropping them down seven spots from 20th in week three.

Fox Sports NFL contributor Brian Billick had this to say about the Panthers, “Cam Newton looked like a boy who lost his puppy in his Thursday night postgame press conference. Being dissatisfied after a loss is one thing, but being completely depressed is another. Playing the Thursday night game gives him a mini bye week to clear his head.”

Both comments have to leave a bad taste in mouths of the Panthers and their fans.

Newton not only looked like a lost puppy after the game, but during the game as well. Newton faced constant pressure all night long from the Giants defense. Pretty much what you would expect when facing a team from the NFC East, but Carolina played as if they were not suspecting such relentless pressure.

As far as beating the New Orleans Saints in week two goes, that still should serve as an accomplishment the Panthers can hang their hats on going into week four. It’s way too early to write the Saints off at this point in the season.

However, Carolina is free falling in the power rankings. Though it might not mean much to the team, these rankings are valuable indicators for what a specific team is lacking on either side of the football.

Their loss to Giants was telling and these current Power Rankings have the Panthers slotted appropriately, considering all of the holes the Giants exposed last Thursday night.

Robert Kester, Carolina Panthers columnist. Please follow @robertkester1.