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Power Rankings Recap: Cardinals open near the top

Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Houston Texans, Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016, in Houston. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Football season is here.

Thursday night, the American public will be treated to a rematch of Super Bowl 50 when the Denver Broncos host the Carolina Panthers to kick off the 2016 campaign.

Funny, it might only be the second-most intriguing game on the schedule in Week 1.

The Arizona Cardinals will entertain the Tom Brady-less New England Patriots Sunday night at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale in a highly-anticipated matchup of Super Bowl contenders. Both teams lost in their respective conference championship games last January, just one step short of reaching the NFL’s golden anniversary gala in Santa Clara.

We at Arizona Sports have spoken (at least for Week 1), ranking the Cardinals as the top team in our inaugural 2016 power rankings. Do other national outlets agree?

Each week, we’ll run down what some of the biggest media outlets in the country have to say about Bruce Arians’ team, and where they fall in respective NFL power rankings.


Cardinals Aggregate Power Ranking (Week 1): 3.50

High Ranking: #1 (SB Nation, USA Today)

Low Ranking: #6 (Bleacher Report)

espnWeek 1 Power Rankings: Seahawks, Steelers are out front

Cardinals rank: #4

Carson Palmer was the model of consistency last season, posting an above-average Total QBR (more than 50) in 15 of his 16 games played. More of that play will keep the Cardinals in the mix for as long as it happens.

nflnetworkNFL Power Rankings, Week 1: Panthers top Cardinals, ‘Hawks

Cardinals rank: #2

Top to bottom, this might be the premier roster in the NFL. With this being Week 1, though, we must take note of how last season ended — which is why Arizona is No. 2. Of course, last season also represents a significant reason why the Cardinals are ranked so high now. The present issue is the thinness of the secondary. (Though the Marcus Cooper trade could help that.) The future concern is the play of Carson Palmer. He must perform better down the stretch for the Kangol hats to be playing in Houston come February.

SINFL Week 1 Power Rankings: Panthers enter season-openers atop the league

Cardinals rank: #2

David Johnson finished last season with 1,038 yards from scrimmage, and he didn’t even step into a full-time role until Week 12. Few players have matched his level of hype this off-season—his position coach says he could be “one of the best backs to ever play the game”—but if he just maintains his 2015 trajectory, the Cardinals’ offense will be close to unstoppable.

cbssportsNFL Power Rankings: Think your team’s for real? Here’s your wake-up call

Cardinals rank: #3

They added a nice pass-rush piece in Chandler Jones and they will again be explosive on offense. They will win the NFC West.

Picture 32016 NFL power rankings, Week 1: A year of NFC dominance

Cardinals rank: #1

Arizona, Carolina, Seattle and Green Bay — also have very good defenses, top-notch players at the offensive skill positions and, maybe most important of all, depth throughout the roster.

bleacherreportNFL Power Rankings: Chris Simms’ Week 1 Rankings

Cardinals rank: #6

The Cardinals freak me out.

The way they ended last year is a little alarming (that Green Bay game and then a Panthers blowout). Both lines are a mess right now. And Carson Palmer is playing like Father Time is tolling this preseason.

They’ll probably shake it off because they’re so damn talented. Chandler Jones, one of the NFL’s top sack artists, is now on this defense. Jaron Brown would start on your team; he’s the fourth option in Arizona. I wouldn’t be shocked if David Johnson leads the league in rushing, either.

yahoosportsNFL Power Rankings: There have been some changes

Cardinals rank: #2

Receiver John Brown suffered a concussion on July 31, and about a month later he was still feeling the effects. The Cardinals are deep at receiver, but Brown’s health is key for them being a special team.

usatodayUSA Today Power Rankings – Week 1

Cardinals rank: #1

If QB Carson Palmer maintains his form and DB Tyrann Mathieu is healthy, Arizona arguably faces the fewest concerns of any team. RB David Johnson could shift the offensive dynamic.

FoxsportsNFL Week 1 power rankings with predicted records for all 32 teams

Cardinals rank: #5

Carson Palmer gets a lot of credit in Arizona, and for the most part, he deserves it. But in order for the Cardinals to beat the Seahawks in the NFC West, they’ll need Palmer to be outstanding – which he hasn’t always been down the stretch. Fortunately, they play against the Rams and 49ers four times combined, which will equate to four wins.

profootballtalkPFT’s Week One Power Rankings

Cardinals rank: #5

“All or Nothing” ultimately ended up in “nothing” last year. Whether they get the “all” in 2016 depends on whether they get “anything” out of Carson Palmer when it counts.

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