The Chicago Bears aren’t very good.
And they got even worse when they lost Jay Cutler to a hamstring injury (at least that’s what the team called it) in the first half of their game against the Arizona Cardinals Sunday at Soldier Field.
Regardless, the Cardinals dominated all phases of the game en route to a 48-23 victory — matching a team high in points since the franchise moved to the Valley in 1988. In fact, it was the first road victory of 20 or more points for the Redbirds since 2009, when they beat the (you guessed it) Bears 41-21.
The nation has taken notice. The Cardinals are getting a lot of love from the national media about their 2-0 start.
Every week here on ArizonaSports.com, we’ll take a look at the national perspective on the Birdgang — in the form of NFL Power Rankings from around the country.
Cardinals’ Average Power Ranking: 4.1 (up from 6.4 last week)
#3 (up 2 spots from last week)
David Johnson — all he does is score touchdowns. Boy, all those people who thought the Rams would overtake the Cards in the NFC West had better pump the brakes, or else this will happen. Carson Palmer looks outstanding through two games: He’s completed 36 of 56 passes, picking up 8.79 yards per throw with seven touchdowns and one interception. His passer rating for the season? 124.4.
#3 (up 3 spots)
Keep getting David Johnson the ball. He already has a touchdown via a rush, reception and kick return in two games, something only one player did all of last season (Knile Davis).
#4 (holding steady)
Bruce Arians’s team is 23-9 since 2013, has started 2-0 and leads the NFC West. So, why does it keep getting the Jan Brady treatment? I was asked during a radio spot this week if people are overlooking the Cardinals. The answer: yes, but it doesn’t make any sense why. It’s time to start paying attention. Arizona has a Super Bowl-worthy make-up.
#4 (up 1 spot)
The defense is not generating as much pressure as it did in 2014, but Carson Palmer looks more comfortable than ever with a healthy Larry Fitzgerald as his No. 1 target. When the offense matches up with a defense that can generate more consistent pressure, they will need to prove that they can hold up in protection to allow Palmer to move the ball downfield.
#4 (up 3 spots)
Some variation of this statement has been written repeatedly about the 2015 Arizona Cardinals, both here and elsewhere: If they keep quarterback Carson Palmer upright and healthy, smooth waters lie ahead.
Through two weeks, Palmer still hasn’t been sacked yet. The result? An average of 8.8 yards per attempt, seven touchdowns, only one interception and a passer rating of 124.4.
Oh, and two wins.
#4 (holding steady)
The Arizona Cardinals stick in the fourth spot with a convincing blowout victory over the Chicago Bears, and things are looking up for a team that went without a true starting quarterback for most of last year. Carson Palmer threw four touchdowns — three to the ageless Larry Fitzgerald — and Arizona’s defense and special teams made major contributions as well. They look like a pretty complete team right now.
#4 (holding steady)
Their offense will be tough to stop, no matter who starts at running back. They’re off to a good start.
#6 (up 5 spots)
It’s possible Arizona beat the two worst teams in the NFL in Weeks 1 and 2. Doesn’t mean they’re good, doesn’t mean they’re bad, it just means we don’t know a ton yet.
#5 (up 3 spots)
Some folks in Chicago may be starting to think the wrong team moved out of town.
#4 (up 6 spots)
If they keep getting bonus touchdowns from defense and special teams, maybe they will be NFC’s team to beat.
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