Look at any power ranking this time last week, and the common denominator is that the Arizona Cardinals were residing somewhere between 30th and 32nd. These days, you’re more likely to see the Cardinals somewhere in the mid-twenties, but FanSided’s Russell S. Baxter ranked the Cards 22nd in their latest piece.
Want more? They also ranked the Los Angeles Rams 26th, meaning that, for this week, at least, the Cards are no longer in the NFC West’s basement as far as one ranking goes.
While these rankings are subjective, you rarely see a team that’s listed near the bottom of the league, and well in the bottom-five defeating a team slotted in the top-five, or even the top-three. But it’s even rarer to see that bottom-five team beat their top-five opponent by two possessions, and it’s debunking the entire “tanking” narrative we’ve been hearing about for months.
Arizona Cardinals need to prove their worth this Sunday
Now that the Cardinals are no longer considered the NFL’s worst teams (for this week, at least), they need to show us that they can maintain their higher ranking. And that means at least making it a game this week against the San Francisco 49ers.
This isn’t to say lightning will strike twice and that the Cards will upset their NFC West rival. That’s one far-fetched prediction. But if they can keep things interesting for the contest and stay within one possession of San Fran, then it’s all but a given that the Cards are a much better football team than even some of the most optimistic fans in the Red Sea may have thought.
We will find out if the Cardinals maintain some consistency come Sunday, and if they can’t, expect them to fall close to where they were in Weeks 1 and 2. But if they make it a game, then the Cards could maintain or at least hover around their current ranking.
Source: 2023 NFL power rankings, Week 4: Stunning wins by Colts, Cardinals and (WOW) Dolphins, FanSided.com