A weekly examination of the Panthers’ ESPN.com Power Ranking:
Preseason: 23 | Last Week: 24 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002
The Carolina Panthers are one of eight NFL teams with an 0-2 record, so they should feel fortunate ESPN's No. 27 ranking puts them ahead of three of those winless teams.
No winless team is ranked better than No. 20, which happens to be the New York Giants, who Carolina plays next, so there's not much distinction between one hapless team and another.
My question: Which of the winless teams really is the worst? Figuring the combined record of opponents versus total loss margin, Carolina (3-1, six points) actually came out better than six of the eight.
Using that standard, Tampa Bay (3-1, three points) is No. 1 among the 0-2s, even though it is ranked No. 30 by ESPN.
The worst 0-2 team is not in question. Jacksonville (3-1, 36 points) was last under my unscientific system and last in ESPN's poll.
So Carolina, with a secondary in ruins due to injuries and a head coach under fire, has that to be thankful for.