Week 9 NFL Power Rankings Recap: Cardinals no longer in high-rent district
One step forward, two steps back.
Yes, that’s really close to a lyric from Paula Abdul’s awful 1989 number-one hit “Opposites Attract,” but it’s also the pattern the Arizona Cardinals have been following in this season’s NFL Power Rankings.
After an ugly 30-20 loss on the road to the Carolina Panthers, the Cardinals took two steps back to find themselves in the bottom half of the league in most national rankings.
Not only did the Cardinals lose, to drop their record to 3-4-1 heading into their bye week, but they also suffered several key injuries. Offensive tackle Jared Veldheer is out for the rest of the season with a torn triceps. Defensive back Tyrann Mathieu will miss three-to-six weeks with a shoulder injury and tight end Ifeanyi Momah was put on I.R. with a broken wrist.
Here’s a rundown of what some prominent national outlets (and ArizonaSports.com) are saying about the Cardinals:
Cardinals Average Power Ranking: 16.9
(down from 11.6 last week)
High Ranking: #12 (ESPN, NFL Network)
Low Ranking: #25 (USA Today)
Cardinals rank: #16 (▼ 7)
Veldheer is out; Mathieu is out. The Cardinals will be out soon.
Cardinals rank: #12 (▼ 5)
The Cardinals made big changes on the offensive line this offseason, and those changes are coming back to haunt them in the standings and the rankings. Arizona is 0-4-1 this season when allowing multiple sacks and 3-0 when allowing one or zero.
Cardinals rank: #12 (▼ 4)
Welp, so much for flipping a switch and making a run toward the NFC West. The Cardinals’ offense struggled when it mattered — again — although this time the issue wasn’t Carson Palmer … OK, Palmer did his part in spotting Carolina seven ( if that was indeed a fumble). The lack of any semblance of a run game did Bruce Arians’ attack in on Sunday.. Arizona ran all of 10 times in the loss. If you want to stop and smell the roses: J.J. Nelson made several big plays, catching eight balls and scoring two touchdowns. Or, you can smell the dog turds: The Cards are 3-4-1.
Cardinals rank: #23 (▼ 8)
The way the Cardinals play in East Coast games, you’d think they had been dropped on the moon. It’s still the same game, guys. You’re still in America. Whatever the issue, Bruce Arians better figure it out in a hurry—the Cardinals still travel to Atlanta and Miami this season, with a Central Time Zone road trip to Minnesota to boot.
Cardinals rank: #16 (▼ 4)
What has happened to this team? They aren’t playing terrible football, but they head to the bye at 3-4-1.
Cardinals rank: #13 (▼ 2)
It was a weird week for the NFC South, with the bottom-dwelling Carolina Panthers taking out the Arizona Cardinals, and the New Orleans Saints pulling off a win against the Seattle Seahawks. Meanwhile, the Atlanta Falcons managed to hold on for a close win at home against the Green Bay Packers, so all three teams move up a bit in our rankings this week.
Cardinals rank: #20 (▼ 7)
Palmer needs to dig himself a trench a few yards behind center.
He’s under direct fire after every Cardinals snap. Carolina’s eight-sack game only further exposed what Seattle did during Week 7’s overtime tie: Arizona’s interior blocking group is one of the worst in football.
Palmer isn’t the only one paying the price for blown blocking assignments. The Cardinals fell in an early 24-0 hole—just deep enough to eliminate David Johnson from the battle strategy.
In no universe will these Cardinals run Johnson 10 times, gain 24 yards and win a football game. It’s as simple as that.
Cardinals rank: #14 (▼ 3)
Do-everything safety Tyrann Mathieu is out a reported 3-6 weeks with a shoulder injury. Left tackle Jared Veldheer went on injured reserve with a triceps injury. Combine that with how bad they looked Sunday against the Panthers, and it looks like a talented team is having a lost season.
Cardinals rank: #25 (▼ 11)
Fortuitous timing for bye week. They must figure out how to fix O-line that allowed eight sacks Sunday and lost LT Jared Veldheer.
Cardinals rank: #14 (▼ 3)
The Cardinals are losing their best players left and right, which doesn’t make their 3-4-1 record any more promising. Left tackle Jared Veldheer is out for the year, and Tyrann Mathieu will be sidelined three to six weeks. If they don’t turn it around quickly, they’ll be out of the playoff race.
Cardinals rank: #21 (▼ 4)
The window by all appearances has slammed shut.
- USA Today: Cardinals not expected to contend for playoffs in 2018-19
- Arizona Cardinals rank No. 41 in Forbes’ 2018 most valuable franchises
- Keim’s absence comes as Cardinals talk complicated Johnson extension
- Cardinals suspend GM Steve Keim for five weeks after he pleads guilty to DUI
- Cardinals need a lot to go right to rise in ESPN’s future power rankings