The Consensus Week 10: Cardinals surge after beating 49ers
The roller coaster continues.
After a Week 7 shutout loss to the Los Angeles Rams in London, the Arizona Cardinals dipped as low as they’ve ever been in national power rankings during the Bruce Arians coaching era, which began in 2013.
Their average rank was 26.9, which put them near the bottom of the league in the eyes of prominent sports publications.
You wouldn’t think beating a winless team on the road would do much for their ranking, but this is the NFL — a league defined by parity and mediocrity — so the Cardinals got quite a bump in NFL rankings heading into Week 10. Arizona jumped by an average of 4.6 spots in the 10 NFL Power Rankings we track.
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: #21 (▲5)
The Cardinals’ four wins are against the 49ers (twice), Colts and Bucs. Those teams have combined for five wins. — Craig Morgan
Cardinals rank: #23 (▲5)
The Cardinals were expected to return to their 2015 form, with which they went 13-3, but a 4-4 start and injuries to Carson Palmer and David Johnson derailed that train. Still, their start despite those injuries isn’t bad.
Cardinals rank: #23 (▲3)
During a weekend of mixed results from backup quarterbacks, Drew Stanton drove the bus effectively enough. That, and leaning on the old legs of Adrian Peterson for what was (shockingly) his career high in carries, proved to be enough to down the 49ers in San Francisco. A.D. chugged all day, pounding the 49ers’ front 37 times for 159 yards in a let’s-control-the-clock approach from Bruce Arians, who isn’t really known for that kind of game plan.
Cardinals rank: #26 (▲3)
Cardinals rank: #18 (▲9)
They won without Carson Palmer against the 49ers and now face a tough home game Thursday against the Seahawks. Can Adrian Peterson handle a lot of carries after getting 37 against the 49ers?
Cardinals rank: #26 (▲2)
The Arizona Cardinals aren’t out of the NFC West race yet, but they aren’t true contenders. The Cardinals managed to get to 4-4 thanks to the hapless 49ers, but this is a team that is all over the place from week to week.
Offensively, the Cardinals are a mess. They have talent, but they’re missing quarterback Carson Palmer and running back David Johnson. The offensive line is suspect, and while Adrian Peterson has had a couple of great games on the ground, he isn’t going to go off every week. His two good games this season have come against the 49ers and the Buccaneers—two of the worst defensive teams in football.
Defensively, Arizona has some playmakers. However, there isn’t a lot of consistency there, and the Cardinals still give up too many big plays.
While their record says the Cardinals still have a shot at the postseason, this is a middle-of-the-pack team at best.
Cardinals rank: #21 (▲6)
It’s amazing the Cardinals are at .500. How many carries can 32-year-old Adrian Peterson handle on Thursday, considering he got 37 in the win over the 49ers?
Cardinals rank: #24 (▲3)
Hard to knock strategy of running offense through relatively fresh Adrian Peterson. But 37 carries for a 32-year-old who has to play Thursday?
Cardinals rank: #22 (▲7)
Adrian Peterson could end up having 70 total carries only four days apart.
Cardinals rank: #19 (▲3)
Drew Stanton played as well as he could in San Francisco, and it was a lot easier with Adrian Peterson running through an absolute sieve. The degree of difficulty will be raised for his second start of the season.