CHARLOTTE – Follow five media outlets throughout the season as their writers update their NFL power rankings, presented by Daimler Trucks North America.

NFL.com

NFC South: Buccaneers 1st, Saints 15th, Falcons 26th

ANALYSIS: “Sam Darnold Revenge Day is almost upon us. The new Panthers signal-caller gets his chance to send a message to a Jets team that unintentionally sabotaged the start of his career, even if the absence of Adam Gase (where is Adam Gase anyway?) takes some of the helium out of the narrative. Darnold had an up-and-down preseason, and his future as a viable NFL starter will hinge on whether he can cut down on the turnovers that undermined his first three seasons in the pros. Carolina picked up the fifth-year option on Darnold’s rookie contract, but it won’t guarantee him job security beyond this season. It’s put up or shut up time for the former USC star.”

ESPN.com

NFC South: Buccaneers 1st, Saints 18th Falcons 27th

ANALYSIS: “Is this too low for Carolina? Perhaps, but it is concerning that a team that went 5-11 and ranked 24th in points in 2020 might be in a worse situation at quarterback. Whereas Sam Darnold is younger and perhaps has a higher ceiling than his predecessor, Teddy Bridgewater, we have yet to see the former Jet play at a high level for an extended period (Bridgewater was better in every credible QB efficiency stat last season). Even if Darnold makes a leap, his supporting cast leaves a lot to be desired. Yes, he has Christian McCaffrey, Robby Anderson and DJ Moore, but the offensive line is near the league’s bottom.

Carolina invested its entire 2020 draft on the defense, but the likes of Derrick Brown, Yetur Gross-Matos and Jeremy Chinn — not to mention rookie No. 8 overall pick Jaycee Horn — are not yet proven in the pros. The defense could be very good down the road, but there is still work to be done.”

CBSSports.com

NFC South: Buccaneers 1st, Saints 19th, Falcons 22nd

ANALYSIS: “Sam Darnold is the quarterback – for now. He’s essentially in a prove-it year. If he struggles, you can bet they will be targeting a replacement next year. The young defense should be better.”

Pro Football Talk

NFC South: Buccaneers 1st, Saints 9th, Falcons 26th

ANALYSIS: “They’re moving in the right direction, but they still have plenty of work to do to get to where they want to be.”

BleacherReport.com

NFC South: Buccaneers 1st, Saints 18th, Falcons 28th

ANALYSIS: “The first year of the post-Cam Newton era for the Carolina Panthers didn’t go so well. After one lackluster season from Teddy Bridgewater, they hit the reset button at quarterback.

The looming question is whether it did them any good.

Per Anthony Rizzuti of Panthers Wire, Carolina offensive coordinator Joe Brady insisted that the switch to Sam Darnold under center is a big step in the right direction.

“I have something with him,” Brady said. “I’m confident in Sam. I feel like he has a great grasp of the offense right now.”

Darnold largely struggled during his first three NFL seasons with the New York Jets. The 2018 No. 3 overall pick averaged 13 interceptions per season, has a mediocre career passer rating of 78.6 and has won only 13 of his 38 starts.

The odds of a major turnaround this year in Charlotte aren’t good.”

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Julius Peppers sacks the quarterback during a game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, November 26, 2017.

Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez/Carolina Panthers

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Luke Kuechly returns an interception during a game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, November 26, 2017.

Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez/Carolina Panthers

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Devin Funchess makes a reception during a game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, November 26, 2017.

Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez/Carolina Panthers

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Kaelin Clay scores a touchdown during a game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, November 26, 2017.

Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez/Carolina Panthers

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Jonathan Stewart carries the football during a game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, November 26, 2017.

Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez/Carolina Panthers

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Jonathan Stewart tries to dive over the goal line during a game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, November 26, 2017.

Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez/Carolina Panthers

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Christian McCaffrey during a game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, November 26, 2017.

Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez/Carolina Panthers

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Christian McCaffrey breaks a tackle during a game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, November 26, 2017.

Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez/Carolina Panthers

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Cam Newton runs for a touchdown during a game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, November 26, 2017.

Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez/Carolina Panthers

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Carolina Panthers play against the New York Jets on Sunday, December 15, 2013.

Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez/Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez

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Carolina Panthers play against the New York Jets on Sunday, December 15, 2013.

Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez/Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez

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Carolina Panthers play against the New York Jets on Sunday, December 15, 2013.

Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez/Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez

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Carolina Panthers play against the New York Jets on Sunday, December 15, 2013.

Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez/Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez

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Carolina Panthers’ Dwayne Jarrett catches a ball as he falls into the endzone during an NFL football game against the New York Jets Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009, in East Rutherford, N.J. A penalty was called on the play and the touchdown was called back. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Bill Kostroun/AP2009

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Carolina Panthers’ Jake Delhomme points during an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Bill Kostroun/AP2009

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Carolina Panthers punter Todd Sauerbrun (10) reacts as his kick is blocked by New York Jets’ Jamie Henderson (23) in the first quarter at Ericsson Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday Oct. 28, 2001. The Jets returned the punt for a touchdown.(AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

CHUCK BURTON/2001 AP

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Carolina Panthers tight end Gary Barnidge (82) is tackled by New York Jets safety Eric Smith (33) and teammate David Harris (52) during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Bill Kostroun/AP2009

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Carolina Panthers tight end Dante Rosario (88) stiff-arms New York Jets linebacker Calvin Pace (97) during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Jets won the game 17-6. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Julie Jacobson/AP2009

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Carolina Panthers play against the New York Jets on Sunday, December 15, 2013.

Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez/Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez

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New York Jets’ quarterback Brooks Bollinger (5) is sacked by Carolina Panthers’ Kendal Moorehead, center, as Jets’ Scott Gragg (74) grabs Moorehead during the first quarter in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday Nov. 13, 2005.(AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

CHUCK BURTON/2005 AP

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Carolina Panthers’ Chris Harris tackles New York Jets tight end Dustin Keller (81) as Keller fumbles the ball during the third quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Seth Wenig/AP2009

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New York Jets’ Thomas Jones runs the ball during an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Seth Wenig/AP2009

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New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) is tackled by Carolina Panthers cornerback Richard Marshall (31) in the third quarter during an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Bill Kostroun/AP2009

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New York Jets running back Shonn Greene (23) fights for control of the ball against Carolina Panthers’ James Anderson (50) during the second quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Julie Jacobson/AP2009

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Carolina Panthers’ Stephen Davis (48) celebrates his one-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter of the Panthers’ 30-3 win over the New York Jets in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday Nov. 13, 2005.(AP Photo/Rusty Burroughs)

RUSTY BURROUGHS/2005 AP

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FILE – In this Oct. 15, 1995, file photo, Carolina Panthers head coach Dom Capers, center, and linebacker Lamar Lathon (57) celebrate the team’s first win, 26-15 over the New York Jets at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C. Carolina went 7-9 in their inaugural season in 1995 with Kerry Collins leading the way. The Panthers made it to the NFC championship game a season later, losing 30-13 to Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers. (AP Photo/Alan Marler, File)

ALAN MARLER/1995 AP

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New York Jets’ Justin Miller (22) fumbles a kickoff return as he is hit by Carolina Panthers’ Ricky Manning Jr (24) during the fourth quarter of the Panthers’ 30-3 win in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday Nov. 13, 2005. The Panthers forced six turnovers, four of which came on consecutive New York possessions, to pull away after an uneventful first half. Carolina scored 20 points off turnovers.(AP Photo/Rick Havner)

RICK HAVNER/2005 AP

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FILE – In this Oct. 15, 1995, file photo, Carolina Panthers’ Sam Mills holds the ball high as he reaches the end zone for the first touchdown of the game after intercepting the ball from the New York Jets during the second quarter of an NFL football game in Clemson, S.C. Mills was selected as a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2021 on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Ruth Fremson, File)

RUTH FREMSON/AP1995

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Carolina Panthers’ Stephen Davis (48) runs past New York Jets’ Shaun Ellis (92) during the first quarter in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday Nov. 13, 2005.(AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

CHUCK BURTON/2005 AP

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Carolina Panthers’ Keary Colbert (83) celebrates his touchdown catch as New York Jets’ Justin Miller (22) looks on during the first quarter in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday Nov. 13, 2005.(AP Photo/Rick Havner)

RICK HAVNER/2005 AP

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Carolina Panthers’ Ken Lucas (23) celebrates one of his two interceptions with teammate Marlon McCree (27) during the third quarter of the Panthers’ 30-3 win over the New York Jets in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday Nov. 13, 2005. The Panthers forced six turnovers, four of which came on consecutive New York possessions, to pull away after an uneventful first half. Carolina scored 20 points off turnovers.(AP Photo/Rick Havner)

RICK HAVNER/2005 AP

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Carolina Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme (17) throws a pass under pressure during the first quarter against the New York Jets in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday Nov. 13, 2005.(AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

CHUCK BURTON/2005 AP

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New York Jets’ Curtis Martin (28) runs past Carolina Panthers’ Deon Grant (27) during in the second quarter of the Jet’s 13-12 win at Ericsson Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday Oct. 28, 2001. Martin ran for 159 yards in the win. (AP Photo/Rusty Burroughs)

RUSTY BURROUGHS/2001 AP

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New York Jets’ Richie Anderson (20) loses the ball as he is hit by Carolina Panthers’ Dean Wells (95) in the first quarter at Ericsson Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday Oct. 28, 2001. Carolina Panthers’ Rashard Anderson recovered the fumble and ran it back 97 yards for a touchdown.(AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

CHUCK BURTON/2001 AP

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