Arizona Cardinals stay consistent in Power Rankings
By Erich Becker
The Cardinals hold steady in the top five of most power rankings
With the Carolina Panthers remaining unbeaten in the NFC at 10-0 and the same for the New England Patriots in the AFC, most power polls (ours included) have the Cardinals just outside these two teams in the top three in many places, or the top five on the questionable polls (see below).
The Cardinals never do make it easy, a week after giving up two strip sacks and scores to go with them, they give up not-quite-as-costly interceptions in the first quarter that derailed quality drives (well one, at least, the other was a questionable moment). The real star of this game was J.J. Nelson from an offensive standpoint, Deone Buccannon was a force on defense and it was all put together with the team’s motto, “Team is What It Takes”. This team did not quit, and with that drive, this team sits firmly as one of the best in football.
The sentiment is not shared by all though, in a perplexing decision, the Cardinals actually drop from three to four at ESPN to make room for the Broncos, who, behind a good defense, manage to fend off Jay Culter and the Bears with zero turnovers and are suddenly the best team in football.
"The Cardinals have scored 336 points through 10 games. They scored 326 points, including playoffs, all of last season."
At NFL.com, Elliot Harrison has the Cardinals in third, up from number four last week.
"Another steady step up the rankings for the Cardinals, who are now sturdily in the three-hole. What makes for a solid hitter in the three-hole? Someone who has a balanced approach — someone who can hit for power and take a few pitches, and who is generally better at hitting to all fields than the cleanup man. Tell me that doesn’t describe Arizona under Bruce Arians. The Cards can run the football with two quality RBs, and Carson Palmer distributes the ball while being able to connect deep when appropriate. Would love to see the Cardinals win their first Super Bowl this season. But let’s not put the victory beret before the headset. #Arians"
Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk, who we missed last week in this article, has the Cardinals steady at number three:
"The team that can’t lose in prime time barely won."
That’s a compliment, I think?
Frank Schwab, who has had his doubts about the team all season, has finally warmed up to them, in his Shutdown Corner piece he has the Cardinals moving up from four to three:
"Rookie J.J. Nelson had four catches for 142 yards on Sunday night. It’s unfair how deep Arizona is at receiver."
This is really a compliment for the front office in Arizona, where Steve Keim and Bruce Arians sit atop a throne of awesome and make draft boards that rock.
Pete Prisco has the Cardinals up, drum roll please, from four to three!
"They scored 78 points the past two weeks on the top two scoring defenses in the league. They can throw it on anybody."
Still at CBS, Pat Kirwin has the team at three, remaining there from last week.
"Carson Palmer added to his MVP resume last week and the Cardinals are beginning to put a stranglehold on the No. 2 seed in the NFC."
Finally this week, FOXSports has the team at number three again this week.
"When the Cardinals needed it most, Carson Palmer led a game-winning field goal drive against Cincinnati by throwing passes of 19, 18 and then 20 yards, with no timeouts. Arizona is legit and a Week 16 game against the Packers could loom large for playoff seeding."
As you can see, the team, which was once picked by Sports Illustrated to lose 10 games straight at finish 5-11, has, slightly, beat expectations through ten games.