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The Consensus Week 4: Ugly loss doesn’t hurt Cardinals too badly

Running back David Johnson #31 of the Arizona Cardinals attempts to make a catch in the second half of the NFL game against the Carolina Panthers at State Farm Stadium on September 22, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. The Carolina Panthers won 38-20. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

There’s no other way to say it, the Arizona Cardinals’ 38-20 loss to the Carolina Panthers last Sunday was ugly in a lot of ways.

Recent history has demonstrated that ugly losses for the Cards usually mean a rapid plummet in NFL Power Rankings from around the country, but that really wasn’t the case this week.

Of course, Arizona’s composite ranking of 26.5 in 11 rankings gathered from around the internet doesn’t leave too much room for a freefall, either.

Eight of the 11 outlets we track in The Consensus did drop Kliff Kingsbury’s team in their rankings, while three kept them in the same spot as last week.

Here’s a closer look at what others are saying about the Cardinals as they prepare for their first divisional game of the year against the Seattle Seahawks Sunday.


High Ranking: 27 (Six outlets)

Low Ranking: 29 (NFL.com, PFT)

Week 3 Average Ranking: 27.6 (Down from 26.5 in Week 3)


 

Week 4 NFL Power Rankings: 1-32 poll, plus what we got wrong in the preseason

This Week: 28 

Movement: —

Comment:

What we got wrong: That the Cardinals’ defense would be much better than it’s been.

The secondary took a massive blow when cornerback Robert Alford was lost for six to eight weeks with a fractured tibia during training camp, but the run defense has been bad week after week and the pass rush isn’t getting to quarterbacks as often as it needs to. On paper, the defense is star-studded with the likes of Chandler JonesBudda BakerHaason ReddickD.J. SwearingerCorey Peters and Terrell Suggs. But as a unit, it’s not playing well enough to win games.


 

NFL Power Rankings, Week 4: Bills, 49ers hit top 10; Eagles dive

This Week: 29 

Movement: ▼1

Comment: Three games in, it’s become apparent that Kyler Murray will not be taking the NFL by storm in 2019. That felt like a possibility, depending on who you listened to, in the weeks and months after Murray went No. 1 to the Cardinals in the 2019 NFL Draft. But the transition to the pro game has been bumpy for the former Oklahoma star. On Sunday against the Panthers, Murray threw for 173 yards on 30 completions. According to ESPN Stats & Information, that is the lowest yardage total in a game for a QB with at least 30 completions in the Super Bowl era. Only seven of Murray’s 43 passes traveled beyond 10 air yards. Only one of those was completed. It’s on rookie coach Kliff Kingsbury to find ways to open up the Arizona attack to help his young passer. Getting some better protection would be a start: Murray was sacked eight times on Sunday.


 

NFL Power Rankings Poll Week 4: Chiefs Pushing Patriots, Giants Climb, Eagles Plunge

This Week: 28 

Movement: —

Comment:Kliff Kingsbury needs to get a run game going if teams aren’t to just game plan for his rookie QB.


 

NFL power rankings: Which unbeaten teams failed to crack top 10 that includes Rams, 49ers

This Week: 28

Movement: ▼2

Comment: Already wearing down? Games getting increasingly ugly as deficits continue to rise and offense gets incrementally less productive.


 

NFL Power Rankings: Andrew Luck-less Colts still can win AFC South with Jacoby Brissett

This Week: 27

Movement: ▼2

Comment:Kyler Murray had only 173 passing yards on 43 attempts. His two interceptions were rough. And the Cardinals’ defense is not very good. This is all still very much a work in progress.


 

NFL Week 4 Power Rankings: Bills are climbing as date with top-ranked Patriots looms

This Week: 27

Movement: ▼1

Comment: They thought there might be growing pains for Kyler Murray, but that defense is the real problem. It can’t stop anybody.



 

PFT’s Week Four power rankings

This Week: 29

Movement: ▼1

Comment:Against the Panthers, the average gain per passing attempt was roughly two Kyler Murrays.



 

NFL Power Rankings: B/R’s Consensus Rank for Every Team Entering Week 4

This Week: 27

Movement: ▼2

Comment: Blame for the loss can’t all be placed on Murray—he didn’t single-handedly allow eight sacks or give up four touchdown passes to Kyle Allen. But the first overall pick in this year’s draft did his part too, throwing a pair of costly interceptions.

A disturbing pattern has revealed itself with these Cardinals the last two weeks—they’ve stayed in games for a while before fading down the stretch.


2019 NFL power rankings: Week 4 update

This Week: 27

Movement: ▼2

Comment: Kyler Murray remains exciting to watch, but as expected, the Cardinals are on a roller-coaster offensively with Kilff Kingsbury. The real problem for Arizona, still without Patrick Peterson, has been its defense behind the pass rush.



 

NFL Power Rankings: Backup QBs aren’t all bad in Week 3, the Eagles take a tumble and the Packers are dominating

This Week: 27

Movement: ▼1

Comment: We’re not really in the business of handing out free fantasy advice here (we recommend The Athletic’s fantasy experts for that), but just a tip that it might be smart to focus on players facing the Arizona defense. Because, yikes. For all of the attention we’ve paid to the ups and downs of Kyler Murray’s rookie year, the Cardinals’ defense is shorthanded and struggling, particularly against opposing tight ends (Greg Olsen had two touchdowns for the Panthers on Sunday). Oh, and meanwhile Murray was sacked eight — count ’em eight! — times on Sunday. That won’t end well for any QB, let alone a rookie.



 

Week 4 NFL Power Rankings

This Week: 27

Movement: —

Comment: Arizona can make things happen on offense, but every other aspect of their team needs major work. The Larry Fitzgerald resurgence has been an absolute treat, though.

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