Power Rankings: No. 24 Carolina Panthers

A weekly examination of the Panthers’ ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 23 | Last Week: 23 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

So the Carolina Panthers dropped a spot in the rankings to 24th after losing 12-7 to Seattle (the No. 1 team entering Week 1) in a game they could have won had it not been for a fourth-quarter fumble at the Seahawks' 8-yard line.

Go figure.

Instead of gaining respect for basically playing even with a team picked by many to go to the Super Bowl, the Panthers lost respect. Apparently, so did Seattle, as it fell to No. 2 behind the San Francisco 49ers to set up a one-versus-two showdown this week.

There's no consistency here, though. The Buffalo Bills, Carolina's opponent on Sunday, moved up a spot to 29th with a 23-21 loss to the New England Patriots. And the Patriots moved up a spot to fifth after narrowly beating a team it was supposed to destroy.

So the Bills gained respect, and so did New England.

Go figure.

I guess this means the winner between Carolina and Buffalo is destined to drop a spot.

Or gain a spot.

Go figure.