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Arizona Sports Week 9 NFL Power Rankings: Cardinals sink, Cowboys rise

Arizona Cardinals' Patrick Peterson (21) kneels in defeat as the final seconds tick off the clock during the second half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016. The Panthers won 30-20. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

We’re at the NFL season’s midway point — well, sort of — and we finally have a clear leader in each conference.

The New England Patriots, fueled by Tom Brady’s continued double-bird to the NFL ridiculous level of play, are clearly the top team in the AFC and once again top our Arizona Sports Power Rankings. Brady dodged defenders (and other things that could only be thrown on the field by Buffalo fans) while throwing for 315 yards and four touchdowns in the Pats’ 41-25 win over the Bills. Since returning from his four-game suspension, Brady has completed 73 percent of his passes and has 12 touchdowns with no interceptions.

In the NFC, the Dallas Cowboys continue winning ball games. Their Week 8 Sunday night win over the Philadelphia Eagles didn’t feature customary steady play from rookie QB Dak Prescott, but Dallas prevailed anyway. Prescott completed only 19-of-39 passes, but had two big touchdown passes late in the contest to lift the Cowboys to a 29-23 overtime win. Jason Garrett’s 6-1 team rises to No. 2 in this week’s rankings.

The Arizona Cardinals are headed in the other direction. Bruce Arians’ team got pushed around in Charlotte (you’ve probably heard that before) during a 30-20 loss to the Carolina Panthers. With the loss, their fourth of the season (surpassing last season’s total), the Cardinals fell seven spots down to No. 16 in this week’s pecking order.

Here’s how our seven-person panel voted this week.

patriots751. New England Patriots (7-1)

High: 1 (unanimous)
Comment: Patriots new motto: “We’re so good, we’re giving away stud linebackers.” — Marotta
Next: Bye

cowboys752. Dallas Cowboys (6-1)

High: 2 (unanimous)
Comment: Please start Romo and ruin this, Jerry. PLEASE! — Dimakos
Next: at Cleveland

broncos753. Denver Broncos (6-2)

High: 3 (Marotta, Grialou, Morgan, Green, Burns, Lapinski)
Low: 4 (Dimakos)
Movement: ▲ 2
Comment: C.J. Anderson injury is going to hurt, but for now, this will do. — Burns
Next: at Oakland

raiders754. Oakland Raiders (6-2)

High: 3 (Dimakos)
Low: 9 (Morgan)
Movement: ▲ 6
Comment: The Raiders are 5-0 on the road for the first time since 1977. — Morgan
Next: vs. Denver

seahawks755. Seattle Seahawks (4-2-1)

High: 4 (Morgan, Burns)
Low: 8 (Grialou, Green, Dimakos)
Movement: ▼ 1
Comment: Really only have one convincing win, and could have three more losses. — Lapinski
Next: vs. Buffalo

falcons756. Atlanta Falcons (5-3)

High: 5 (Morgan, Burns)
Low: 11 (Grialou)
Movement: ▲ 6
Comment: Matt Ryan has ice water in his veins. — Grialou
Next: at Tampa Bay

chiefs757. Kansas City Chiefs (5-2)

High: 4 (Marotta)
Low: 10 (Morgan, Burns)
Comment: Nick Foles had a better weekend than his alma mater’s quarterbacks. — Green
Next: vs. Jacksonville

steelers758. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3)

High: 4 (Lapinski)
Low: 11 (Morgan)
Comment: If they get healthy, they’re on the short list of Super Bowl contenders. — Lapinski
Next: at Baltimore

Vikings759. Minnesota Vikings (5-2)

High: 5 (Grialou)
Low: 13 (Dimakos)
Movement: ▼ 6
Comment: O-line getting exposed. — Burns
Next: vs. Detroit

packers7510. Green Bay Packers (4-3)

High: 7 (Grialou, Dimakos)
Low: 11 (Marotta, Lapinski)
Movement: ▼ 4
Comment: Aaron Rodgers played his best game yet — people not believing in GB are wrong. — Dimakos
Next: vs. Indianapolis

eagles7511. Philadelphia Eagles (4-3)

High: 7 (Morgan, Burns)
Low: 14 (Green)
Comment: Even in defeat, Philadelphia is impressive. — Grialou
Next: at New York Giants

texans7512. Houston Texans (5-3)

High: 12 (Green)
Low: 17 (Grialou, Burns)
Movement: ▲ 6
Comment: They’re still on top of a LOUSY division. — Marotta
Next: Bye

redskins7513. Washington Redskins (4-3-1)

High: 12 (Morgan, Dimakos)
Low: 17 (Lapinski)
Movement: ▲ 3
Comment: Kickers + OT = POISON — Burns
Next: Bye

giants7514. New York Giants (4-3)

High: 10 (Lapinski)
Low: 23 (Green, Burns)
Movement: ▲ 3
Comment: Wondering if Odell Beckham took the kicking net on a a tropical vacation during the bye week? — Marotta
Next: vs. Philadelphia

bengals7515. Cincinnati Bengals (3-4-1)

High: 12 (Grialou, Burns)
Low: 19 (Marotta, Dimakos)
Movement: ▼ 1
Comment: Well, at least Tyler Eifert looks good again. — Lapinski
Next: Bye

Cardinals7516. Arizona Cardinals (3-4-1)

High: 11 (Green)
Low: 21 (Marotta)
Movement: ▼ 7
Comment: Veldheer is out; Mathieu is out. The Cardinals will be out soon. — Morgan
Next: Bye

bills7517. Buffalo Bills (4-4)

High: 14 (Marotta)
Low: 18 (Burns)
Movement: ▼ 4
Comment: Rex Ryan may have to play WR soon. — Lapinski
Next: at Seattle

lions7518. Detroit Lions (4-4)

High: 15 (Green)
Low: 22 (Burns, Lapinski)
Movement: ▼ 3
Comment: Tough loss to Houston is followed by road tilt against angry Vikings. — Green
Next: at Minnesota

saints7519. New Orleans Saints (3-4)

High: 17 (Marotta)
Low: 22 (Morgan)
Movement: ▲ 7
Comment: Beneficiaries of poor officiating in a win over Seattle. — Morgan
Next: at San Francisco

titans7520. Tennessee Titans (4-4)

High: 16 (Marotta)
Low: 23 (Lapinski)
Movement: ▲ 5
Comment: Marcus Mariota is finding his stride. — Grialou
Next: at San Diego

panthers7521. Carolina Panthers (2-5)

High: 14 (Burns)
Low: 28 (Morgan)
Movement: ▲ 6
Comment: Wouldn’t be shocked if this team won the NFC South. — Green
Next: at Los Angeles

chargers7522. San Diego Chargers (3-5)

High: 13 (Burns)
Low: 29 (Grialou)
Movement: ▼ 3
Comment: The Chargers should be better than this, but I can’t put my finger on it. — Morgan
Next: vs. Tennessee

buccaneers75T-23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4)

High: 20 (Lapinski)
Low: 26 (Burns)
Movement: ▼ 3
Comment: I think this team will end up either 8-8 or 7-9. Mike Evans is fun to watch. — Dimakos
Next: vs. Atlanta

ravens75T-23. Baltimore Ravens (3-4)

High: 19 (Morgan)
Low: 27 (Marotta)
Comment: Even Joe Flacco can’t get excited about this team. — Lapinski
Next: vs. Pittsburgh

rams7525. Los Angeles Rams (3-4)

High: 18 (Grialou)
Low: 29 (Marotta)
Movement: ▼ 1
Comment: Bye week to contemplate finishing 7-9. — Burns
Next: vs. Carolina

jets7526. New York Jets (3-5)

High: 17 (Green)
Low: 28 (Lapinski)
Movement: ▲ 2
Comment: Nothing like a win over the Browns to quiet the critics. — Grialou
Next: at Miami

dolphins7527. Miami Dolphins (3-4)

High: 24 (Grialou, Morgan)
Low: 28 (Dimakos, Burns)
Movement: ▼ 5
Comment: On a two-game winning streak — may win next five due to soft schedule. — Green
Next: vs. New York Jets

colts7528. Indianapolis Colts (3-5)

High: 25 (Burns)
Low: 28 (Grialou, Green)
Movement: ▼ 7
Comment: I am convinced you should let Andrew Luck go somewhere else and flourish. — Dimakos
Next: at Green Bay

bears7529. Chicago Bears (2-6)

High: 27 (Grialou)
Low: 29 (Green, Dimakos, Burns, Lapinski)
Movement: ▲ 1
Comment: Jordan Howard’s monster effort drags them firmly into the NFL’s Top 30. — Lapinski
Next: Bye

jaguars7530. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-5)

High: 30 (unanimous)
Movement: ▼ 1
Comment: Can’t believe their head coach is still their head coach. — Burns
Next: at Kansas City

49ers7531. San Francisco 49ers (1-6)

High: 31 (unanimous)
Comment: If a team goes on a bye, and no one’s around to care, does anyone notice? — Lapinski
Next: vs. New Orleans

browns7532. Cleveland Browns (0-8)

High: 32 (unanimous)
Comment: The black sheep in the City of Champions. — Marotta
Next: vs. Dallas

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