The Consensus: Arizona Cardinals dip despite road win in Indianapolis
A team never has to apologize for winning a road game in the NFL. Winning away from home is tough, and whether it’s by a point or four touchdowns, teams will take what they can get.
However, that doesn’t mean experts will be impressed by said win.
That’s what the Arizona Cardinals are facing after their largely uninspiring 16-13 overtime win over the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. When it comes to NFL Power Rankings, it’s about style points and how dominant a team might have been, and the voters from the battery of 10 rankings we use just weren’t all that impressed.
Each week in The Consensus, we’ll give you a look at where national outlets (and we here at ArizonaSports.com) are placing the Cardinals in their league pecking order.
Cardinals rank: #18 (No Movement)
May have saved their season by converting that 3rd-and-20 play on Sunday. — Luke Lapinski
Cardinals rank: #21 (▼1)
Carson Palmer had three completions on passes thrown 20 or more yards in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win after starting the season 2-of-8 on such passes. If that fourth quarter is a sign of things to come for Palmer and not an aberration, the Cardinals’ offense will be just fine.
Cardinals rank: #19 (No Movement)
If Sunday’s win — yes, it was a win — is any indication, the Cardinals might be in trouble. With no David Johnson and no John Brown, Arizona’s engine was stuck in neutral at Indianapolis. Facing one of the worst defenses in the league, a unit that Jared Goff solved repeatedly, Carson Palmer was hit-and-miss. The completion percentage (barely over 50) and final tally (16 points) were off the mark. That said, the deep ball to J.J. Nelson midway through the fourth was unbelievable. What should consistently keep the Cardinals in games is the pass rush, which came alive late. Chandler Jones planted Jacoby Brissett in the turf. Tyrann Mathieu picked Brissett’s pocket. Those two might have to pull off these kinds of feats every week.
Cardinals rank: #22 (▼2)
Cardinals rank: #17 (▲2)
They haven’t looked good the first two weeks, but now come home for a big one against Dallas. They had five offensive starters out last week against the Colts.
Cardinals rank: #23 (No Movement)
The Arizona Cardinals won ugly against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 2. Unfortunately, this may be how they are forced to win games all year long.
The Arizona offensive line isn’t good enough to dominate, and without David Johnson, the run game isn’t capable enough to do anything special. The Cardinals are going to have to run just enough to keep defenses honest and hope Carson Palmer can take care of the football and make a few timely explosive plays.
The Cardinals defense is strong enough to keep the team in games. If Arizona can limit mistakes on offense, it can play through its defense. Eventually, Bruce Arians and his offensive scheme will break through and produce a big play. The defense is also capable of making big plays.
This is what we saw against the Colts. The offense did just enough to force overtime, where a turnover set up the game-winning score.
This isn’t a team I’m willing to give up on. The NFC West is looking like a weaker division this year, and the Cardinals have enough overall talent to make some noise there.
Cardinals rank: #22 (▼1)
Chris Johnson looked OK, gaining 44 yards on 11 carries. Kerwynn Williams wasn’t so good, with 22 yards on nine carries. The Cardinals have to patch together a run game without David Johnson, and Johnson is going to be out a couple months. The Cardinals probably can’t get very far riding Carson Palmer and Chris Johnson for half of a season or more, but what choice do they have?
Cardinals rank: #25 (▼2)
Quite a bit’s already gone wrong for this team, but it was good to see the Honey Badger re-emerge with that clutch INT in overtime.
Cardinals rank: #23 (▼2)
Bruce Arians has finally figured out what many already knew about this team — the quarterback is often more of a liability than an asset.
Cardinals rank: #20 (▲5)
Carson Palmer has seen his offensive line, backfield and receiving corps ravaged by injuries, and the crumbing is in full effect. It’s on the defense to keep making big plays to save the day.