The Consensus Week 17: Cardinals overachieve heading into finale
Call them overachievers. The Arizona Cardinals have lost more key players than any other team in the NFL, and regardless of a season finale on the road against the Seattle Seahawks, they have continued remaining competitive.
Well, at the very least, they have done so in every other game. A 23-0 win over the hapless New York Giants in Week 16 improved Arizona’s standing in power rankings across the internet.
Some power rankings moved the Cardinals up as many as four spots, a few held them steady and just one dropped them in the league hierarchy.
Here’s a look at where Arizona lands in NFL Power Rankings from around the country.
Average rank: 20.0
Up from: 21.8 in Week 16
High: 18, Pro Football Talk
Low: 23, ESPN
Cardinals rank: #23 (▼1)
The Cardinals have only one winning or losing streak of two games this season — lost in Weeks 10 and 11 — and have essentially alternated wins and losses all other weeks. Hard to go over 8.5 wins doing that all season.
Cardinals rank: #19 (▲3)
Say what you want about the Cardinals. Maybe nobody cared about their afternoon meet-and-greetwith the Giants, especially with the Seahawks and Cowboys battling for their playoff lives and the Jimmy G experience in full tilt. Well, meet-and-greet was all this NFC matchup was.
Arizona’s defense dominated, not only pitching a shutout but pushing the 7-8 Cards toward a possible .500 record. Considering Bruce Arians’ squad lost Carson Palmer, David Johnson, Markus Golden and others this season, Arizona nobly stayed the course. No whining — simply competing their a%*%s off. Next up: at Seattle, where Arians is 3-1. Fun game.
Cardinals rank: #20 (▲3)
Cardinals rank: #19 (▲4)
The defense impressed in the shutout of the Giants. That unit has a lot of young players to build around next year.
Cardinals rank: #19 (▲2)
The Arizona Cardinals are the most inconsistent team in football. There’s talent there, but there are also holes on the roster. This leads to some uneven performances and an uneven team on a week-to-week basis.
This is going to be a huge offseason for Arizona. Carson Palmer is at the end of his career, and the team needs to find his replacement sooner rather than later. He’s not the only player who needs a successor. There is very little middle ground when it comes to age with this roster—it’s mostly young talent and aging veterans.
Cardinals rank: #20 (–)
Given all the injuries, having a chance to finish the season at .500 isn’t too bad. It shows there’s still a good core in Arizona. The problem is all the uncertainty at quarterback, with Larry Fitzgerald and with Bruce Arians too.
Cardinals rank: #22 (–)
For a guy who resisted moving to the slot a few years ago, Larry Fitzgerald might start there in our all-time lineup (with Rice, Moss outside).
Cardinals rank: #18 (▲4)
Quietly, they could end up at .500.
Cardinals rank: #20 (▲2)
The Cardinals are possibly working to send out Bruce Arians and Larry Fitzgerald on high notes. A home shutout is a good start; playing road spoiler to eliminate their NFC West rivals would be a fantastic finish.
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