Arizona Cardinals hold steady in Week 16 power polls
By Erich Becker
The Arizona Cardinals maintain top three status for another week
Coming off a 40-17 thrashing to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Night, this weeks’ Power Polls have the Arizona Cardinals maintaining a lock in the top three. While beating up on lesser teams has been a theme for the season, the Cardinals played a complete game on all sides of the ball. Defense was stout, the offense was on target. The running and passing games were near perfect.
The only disappointment for the game was the loss of Tyrann Mathieu for the season, but the Cardinals may be able to plan around that (on the field, not off). Still, how did the rest of the pollsters view the Cardinals after they clinched the NFC West crown for the first time since 2009?
Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk keeps the Cardinals in second, but not without some doubt:
"Losing Tyrann Mathieu will make it a lot harder to get past Seattle and Carolina."
At NFL.com, Elliot Harrison keeps the Cardinals in at number two as well
"Arizona clinched the NFC West with Sunday’s blowout win over the Eagles, adding to what might be the team’s best season of the modern era. No Cardinals group has ever started 12-2. In case you were wondering: Up until this point, the greatest team in franchise history was the 1948 outfit, which went 11-1 before losing to the Eagles in the NFL Championship Game at Shibe Park in Philadelphia. (So, uh, consider Sunday night’s result revenge! Of sorts.) Losing Honey Badger sure hurts, though."
At FOXSports.com, the panel has the Cardinals also at number two:
"The Cardinals may have finally found their ideal foundation running back in rookie David Johnson, who set the team’s all-time rookie touchdown record (12) this season. Tyrann Mathieu had evolved into one of the NFL’s elite defensive backs this season, and his loss (ACL) will be a setback for the defense overall"
Pete Prisco at CBSSports.com leaves his top five alone, with the Cardinals in, you guessed it, number two.
"Now that they have David Johnson going as a runner, it’s going to be even tougher to stop this offense. They face a big game with Green Bay this week."
The lone poll with the Cardinals not in the number two position comes to us from Frank Schwab at Yahoo!, he has the team at number three:
"I get why there’s an outcry about Tyrann Mathieu getting hurt in garbage time. But you still need to field 11 guys on each side until the game is over. It’s not always possible to replace every player late in a game. Still though, it’s a devastating injury. The Cardinals can overcome it, but nobody can replace Mathieu’s versatility or playmaking ability."
As you can see, the Cardinals have really hit it this season, going 5-0 in prime time, sending seven players to the Pro Bowl, a game they hope to not play in, and five player of the week awards. This is a window open for the team, can they go through it?