ARIZONA CARDINALS

Cardinals jump in various power rankings after Week 1 victory over Titans

Sep 14, 2021, 12:01 PM
Arizona Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones (55) celebrates after sacking Tennessee Titans quarterb...

Arizona Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones (55) celebrates after sacking Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

(AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

The Arizona Cardinals’ opening statement against the Tennessee Titans was reflected by major jumps in multiple NFL power rankings.

The Cardinals improved their ranking by at least four spots at four major websites.

The most dramatic improvement came from Yahoo! Sports. Frank Schwab’s latest power rankings put Arizona in sixth, an impressive 13-spot rise from his opening ranking of 19th.

Schwab cited outside linebacker Chandler Jones’ impressive five-sack performance. He also credited the front office for not trading him away in the offseason.

That’s why the Cardinals were smart to not give in to Chandler Jones’ trade request. The brass there needs to win now, and Jones makes a huge difference. He had five sacks and will be one of the NFL’s best defensive players.

Pete Prisco of CBS Sports also liked what he saw from the Cardinals in Week 1. He jumped Arizona four spots to fifth in his power rankings.

While he mentions the defense in his explanation, Prisco mainly pointed out the importance of quarterback Kyler Murray’s performance.

If Kyler Murray plays like he did against the Titans this season, the Cardinals will be a Super Bowl contender.

Murray threw for 289 yards with a single-game career-high four touchdowns. Murray also ran for a touchdown with less than two minutes left in the second quarter.

Bleacher Report’s latest power rankings moved the Cardinals up six positions to seventh. Analyst Gary Davenport was thoroughly impressed, saying that “there wasn’t a more impressive win in Week 1 than their beatdown of the Titans.”

Other sites are still holding out, though, from putting Arizona into their respective top 10s. NFL.com’s Dan Hanzus put the Cardinals at 14th in his rankings. That is an improvement of four positions from his opening week ranking.

Despite only putting Arizona in 14th, Hanzus said the team’s performance shifted its expectations toward being one of the best teams in the NFL.

Maybe the Cardinals heard all the talk this summer about how they were the only NFC West team we shouldn’t expect to make a deep playoff run. Arizona came out on Sunday and played like one of the best teams in football, embarrassing the Titans in a 38-13 road victory that recalibrates expectations of what this team can be. Kyler Murray (five total TDs) looked like a QB ready for a run at MVP, while Chandler Jones delivered one of the best defensive performances in franchise history: five sacks and two forced fumbles, both of which led to Arizona touchdowns.

ESPN’s panel only moved Arizona up one position to 12th. The Cardinals swapped places with the Dallas Cowboys.

The Cardinals may still be scattered among the different power rankings, but their performance put the Titans in a bad position. None of the different rankings mentioned put Tennessee above 17th. The Titans dropped at least eight spots in every ranking.

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