Most coaches will tell you there’s no such thing as a moral victory. But the voters in the ESPN.com Power Rankings disagree.
Although the Carolina Panthers lost their season opener to Arizona, the debut of rookie quarterback Cam Newton was so impressive the Panthers actually rose two spots in the rankings. They went from No. 31 to No. 29.
But in a week in which all four NFC South teams lost, the Panthers were the only team rising.
After a close road loss to Green Bay on Thursday night, the New Orleans Saints took only a small tumble. They went from No. 5 to No. 6. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fell only two spots, to No. 14, after a home loss to Detroit.
The biggest fall in the NFC South was by the Atlanta Falcons. After their road loss to Chicago, the Falcons dropped from No. 6 to No. 11.