The Consensus Week 2: Cardinals see big jump after Week 1 showing

Sep 16, 2020, 6:35 AM | Updated: 8:25 am

Arizona Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake (41) is congratulated by teammates after scoring agains...

Arizona Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake (41) is congratulated by teammates after scoring against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Josie Lepe)

(AP Photo/Josie Lepe)

That’s certainly the way to kick off a season.

The Arizona Cardinals turned in season-opening 24-20 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. Arizona got off to a sluggish start but finished things off in style with an impressive fourth-quarter comeback led by second-year quarterback Kyler Murray. It also helped that DeAndre Hopkins now rocks the Cardinal red, recording a franchise-tying 14 receptions in the outing.

So where do the Cardinals stand after knocking off the defending NFC champions? Let’s just say some heads are turning across the NFL following Arizona’s Week 1 performance.

High Ranking: #8 (Bleacher Report, CBS, USA Today)

Low Ranking: #15 (ESPN)

Average Ranking: 11

Biggest Jump: #21 to #8 (USA Today)

Outlet Rankings Cardinals’ Rank Movement Comment
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None of the Cardinals’ rookies had an impressive showing in Week 1, but Simmons, who played in just 18 snaps, showed glimpses of what he could be despite looking a lot like a rookie who didn’t get preseason work. He had a horse-collar penalty on the game’s first play while defending tight end George Kittle, then running back Raheem Mostert crossed up Simmons en route to a 76-yard touchdown. It’ll take time for Simmons to figure out the NFL game while getting used to being on the field playing at NFL speed.
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So much for Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins not getting enough reps this summer. The league’s hottest new QB/WR combo hooked up an absurd 14 times for 151 yards on 16 targets in a huge season-opening win against the defending conference champion 49ers. Hopkins didn’t reach the end zone, but his 33-yard catch-and-run got Arizona to the one-foot line and set up the go-ahead score with five minutes to play. In other words, Hopkins delivered exactly the kind of game-changing performance the Cardinals were expecting when they traded for the superstar wide receiver in March. It’s great to see a plan come together.
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The Cardinals were such a popular sleeper team last spring and over the summer that I think they were almost post-hype when everyone made their actual predictions just before the season. Everyone is going to hop back on the bandwagon now, as they should after one of the more impressive wins of Week 1. You can’t overreact too much to Week 1, but look at the NFC: The 49ers, Eagles, Cowboys, Vikings and Bucs all lost. With great vibes in Arizona this week, I’m sliding them into the top 10!
NFL power rankings: Cardinals, Seahawks, Patriots vault into top 10 after Week 1
Yes, QB Kyler Murray could be on track for big sophomore year. But Arizona’s defense deserves ample credit for knocking off the Niners.
NFL Power Rankings: Should there be any concern about Jimmy Garoppolo and the 0-1 49ers?
We knew the offense would be good, especially with DeAndre Hopkins. The defense wasn’t great on Sunday, but it was good enough. If Arizona plays defense to that level all season, it can win the NFC West.
NFL Week 2 Power Rankings: Patriots soar behind Cam Newton, Eagles plummet after blowing big lead
Winning at San Francisco to open the season is a message to the rest of the division. Kyler Murray is going to be in the MVP mix.
PFT’s Week Two power rankings
At least no one will look stupid for passing on Kyler Murray (unlike Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson).
NFL Power Rankings: B/R’s Expert Consensus Rank for Every Team Entering Week 2
Perhaps the offseason hype surrounding the Arizona Cardinals was justified. In Week 1, the Cardinals went into Levi’s Stadium and beat the defending NFC champions. They piled up 404 yards of total offense against the NFC’s No. 1 defense from a year ago and beat the Niners in a stadium where they have two losses since Christmas of 2018.The Arizona defense did its part as well, limiting the 49ers to only two third-down conversions and stoning Raheem Mostert in a key goal-line stand. Arizona’s schedule lightens up considerably after this tough opener, as their next four opponents were a combined 18-45-1 last year. The Cardinals could be 5-0 when they meet the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football in mid-October. By then, the hype would be next-level
NFL power rankings: Packers, Patriots pop back up; 49ers, Cowboys, Eagles flop into Week 2
Kyler Murray has bulked up and now has a dominant go-to wide receiver in DeAndre Hopkins. Kliff Kingsbury’s offense was in a balanced groove against the 49ers and the defense is starting to get more out of playmakers, too.
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Arizona’s Week 1 upset over the defending NFC champion 49ers was impressive enough on its own merit, and Kyler Murray’s R.C. car acceleration as a runner is beautiful to behold (Murray scampered for 91 yards and a score on 13 carries). But what stuck out to me about that game was just how much meat the Cardinals left on the bone in their tough divisional win on the road.
Arizona Sports NFL Power Rankings Week 2: Cardinals surge
If DeAndre Hopkins is going to be that wide open all the time, look out.

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The Consensus Week 2: Cardinals see big jump after Week 1 showing