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The Consensus Week 15: Not much further for Cardinals to fall

Quarterback Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals is sacked by outside linebacker Bud Dupree #48 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first half of the NFL game at State Farm Stadium on December 08, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

The losses are mounting.

The Arizona Cardinals, once owners of a three-game losing streak (their longest since 2015), are now saddled with a six-game losing streak (their longest since a nine-game skid in 2012).

Number six came at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers in an environment that looked a lot like the Steel City, considering the preponderance of “Terrible Towels” being waved at State Farm Stadium.

But, after falling behind 10-0, the Cardinals received their wake-up call and competed. So much so, they had the ball with 1:42 to go and a chance to win the game, but a disastrous final possession prevented that from happening.

Here’s a quick rundown of what some of the leading national rankings are saying about the Cardinals and where they stand heading into their final home game of 2019 — a Sunday matchup against the Cleveland Browns.


High Ranking: 24 (CBS Sports)

Low Ranking: 30 (Pro Football Talk)

Week 15 Average Ranking: 26.6 (Down from 26.3 in Week 14)


 

Week 15 NFL Power Rankings: 1-32 poll, plus offense, defense and special teams ratings

This Week: 26

Movement: ▼1

Offense: 20th
Defense: 30th
Special teams: 13th

The Cardinals’ offense hasn’t been as explosive or jaw-dropping as many people expected when Kliff Kingsbury was hired in January, but that’s because he figured out what can and can’t work in the NFL and adapted. There’s the minor detail of him not running a true Air Raid, but many people overlooked that. But what Kingsbury figured out was sustainable in the NFL has worked as well as can be expected with a rookie quarterback and a roster not yet tailored to the scheme.


 

NFL Power Rankings, Week 15: 49ers jump Seahawks; Pats drop

This Week: 28 

Movement: ▲1

Comment: Kyler Murray had a rookie moment to forget on Sunday. Trailing the Steelers by 10 points and facing a fourth down near the goal line, Kliff Kingsbury opted to leave his offense on the field. Murray took the snap, drifted to his right, then fired a spiral directly between the numbers of Steelers defensive end T.J. Watt for a crushing interception. It was one of three interceptions on the game for Murray, a career high. Murray showed his resiliency on the next drive, floating a perfect 24-yard touchdown pass to David Johnson to draw Arizona back within three points. It was as close as the home team would get. (Can you still be the home team when it sounds like your building is filled with fans of the opponent?) Speaking of Johnson, the running back came out of witness protection and finished with 53 total yards. If Johnson is healthy, he should be part of the backfield rotation.


 

NFL Power Rankings Poll Week 15: Chiefs, Rams Looking Frisky With Three Weeks Remaining

This Week: 25

Movement: ▲1

Comment: The first of Kyler Murray’s three interceptions was the only one exchanged for points by the Steelers, but those seven were enough to hand Arizona another frustrating loss. We’ve seen Murray put together a couple game-winning drives this season, but this was not one of them.


 

NFL power rankings: Packers, Chiefs rejoin top five after Week 14 shuffle

This Week: 28

Movement: ▲1

Comment: Sunday’s Kyler Murray-Baker Mayfield matchup means little in grand scheme, but maybe it will settle some debates in Norman, Oklahoma.


 

NFL Power Rankings: Don’t forget about the Chiefs as a Super Bowl contender

This Week: 25

Movement: ▼1

Comment: David Johnson got a bump in playing time, but it was still just 21 snaps and he worked behind Kenyan Drake. If Johnson remains buried behind Drake, isn’t that a sign the Cardinals might try to move on from Johnson and re-sign 2020 free agent Drake as their featured back?


 

NFL Week 15 Power Rankings: Ryan Tannehill lifts Titans into top 10, Patriots and Saints fall out of top 5

This Week: 24

Movement: —

Comment: The past two weeks have been ugly for the offense. Kyler Murray is struggling.


Week 15 power rankings

This Week: 30

Movement: —

Comment: Kyler Murray has lost 300 percent more games as an NFL rookie than he lost in his college and high-school careers, combined.


NFL Power Rankings: B/R’s Consensus Rank for Every Team Entering Week 15

This Week: 27

Movement: —

Comment: Rookie quarterback Kyler Murray has had his moments with the Cardinals in his inaugural season.

Sunday’s loss to the Steelers was not one of those moments.

Facing one of the league’s better defenses, Murray had one of his worst games of the season. The first overall pick in the 2019 draft came up short of 200 passing yards, threw three interceptions, was sacked five times and had a passer rating of 67.2.

Murray’s teammates didn’t give him a ton of help—and haven’t for a long while. The Cardinals last tasted victory against the New York Giants all the way back in Week 7. Since then it’s been six straight losses—including three by double-digits and two by over 20 points.

Arizona finishes the season with trips to Los Angeles and Seattle to face a pair of playoff contenders in the Rams and Seahawks. This week’s home date with the up-and-down Cleveland Browns is likely Kliff Kingsbury’s best chance of avoiding a 3-12-1 first year in charge and a nine-game skid.

Not to mention questions regarding whether he should even be given a second season.


NFL power rankings: Packers, Chiefs, Bears, Titans jump; Patriots, Texans drop for Week 15

This Week: 27

Movement: ▼1

Comment: The Cardinals have seen plenty of good things from Kyler Murray, but their running game issues and total defensive void make it tough for a rookie QB to play comfortably. They need more young skill-player and blocking pop around him for Year 2.


NFL Power Rankings: The Chiefs surge back into the Top 5 after a huge Week 14 win

This Week: 26

Movement: ▼1

Comment: Six straight losses for the Cardinals now, after falling at home on Sunday to the Steelers, and frankly, it feels like more. Fingers crossed the next three weeks gives Cardinals fans something to feel good about heading into 2020.


Week 15 NFL Power Rankings

This Week: 27

Movement: ▼2

Comment: Kyler Murray had a meltdown of a game, but he’s allowed at least one in his rookie season without a lot of help around him.


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