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NFL Power Rankings Roundup Week 16: Cardinals hold steady

Arizona Cardinals' Tyrann Mathieu, left, breaks up a pass intended for Philadelphia Eagles' Nelson Agholor during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Admittedly, we’re getting to the point where power rankings are becoming meaningless.

Either you’re in the playoffs, or you’re not.

Six teams have punched their postseason tickets. Three, including the Arizona Cardinals, have clinched their division. The Cardinals got 187 yards rushing and three touchdowns from David Johnson in a 40-17 dismantling of the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night to lock up the NFC West crown for the first time since 2009.

There’s not a lot of room for the Cardinals to move up, as you’ll see in this week’s Power Rankings Roundup.

Power16


NFLGOLDNFL Power Rankings, Week 16: Packers rise again; Broncos fall

#2 (no movement)

Arizona clinched the NFC West with Sunday’s blowout win over the Eagles, adding to what might be the team’s best season of the modern era. No Cardinals group has ever started 12-2. In case you were wondering: Up until this point, the greatest team in franchise history was the 1948 outfit, which went 11-1 before losing to the Eagles in the NFL Championship Game at Shibe Park in Philadelphia. So consider Sunday night’s contest a grudge match. Losing Honey Badger sure hurts, though.


espnlogo2015 NFL Power Rankings: Week 16

#2 (no movement)

The Cardinals have set franchise records for wins (12) and points scored (445) this season, and there are still two games to play. Home games against the Packers and Seahawks await.


sportsillustratedNFL Week 16 Power Rankings: Top five remain unchanged, while Chiefs rise

#2 (no movement)

Among non-quarterbacks, just three players—Doug Baldwin, Odell Beckham Jr. and Allen Robinson—have accounted for more touchdowns than David Johnson’s 12. Not bad for a guy who averaged three carries over his team’s first nine games and just became the starter in December.


foxsports2015 NFL Power Rankings: Week 16

#2 (no movement)

The Cardinals may have finally found their ideal foundation running back in rookie David Johnson, who set the team’s all-time rookie touchdown record (12) this season. Tyrann Mathieu had evolved into one of the NFL’s elite defensive backs this season, and his loss (ACL) will be a setback for the defense overall.


bleacherreportNFL Power Rankings: Where Does Every Team Rank Heading into Week 16?

#2 (no movement)

The Arizona Cardinals desperately needed a reliable power runner as the final piece of their offense. They drafted David Johnson in the third round, and now the rookie has arrived.

Johnson stomped the Philadelphia Eagles with 229 yards from scrimmage Sunday night (187 rushing yards and 42 receiving yards) during a division-clinching win. He also scored three times, all while galloping for 6.7 yards per carry.

His 12 all-purpose touchdowns are the most by a rookie in Cardinals history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau (via SportsCenter). He’s added another dimension to a frighteningly deep offense.


sbnationNFL power rankings 2015, Week 16: Steelers, Packers up; Broncos dropping

#2 (no movement)

The Cardinals may be a real threat. They blew out the red-hot Eagles to move to 12-2 on the year, dethroning the Seahawks as the NFC West champions. It could prove to be a Pyrrhic victory in the end, though, as Arizona lost Tyrann Mathieu to a torn ACL during garbage time snaps. The Defensive Player of the Year candidate will be pretty impossible to replace — he plays safety, corner, linebacker and a little bit of everything else for the Cardinals — so a number of depth players will have to step in in relief. They’ve weathered losses in the past, though, and I have the feeling that Arizona is going to keep making noise once the playoffs roll around.

 


cbssportsNFL Power Rankings: Backup QBs should decide battle for AFC’s No. 2

#2 (no movement)

Now that they have David Johnson going as a runner, it’s going to be even tougher to stop this offense. They face a big game with Green Bay this week.


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#3 (holding steady)

I get why there’s an outcry about Tyrann Mathieu getting hurt in garbage time. But you still need to field 11 guys on each side until the game is over. It’s not always possible to replace every player late in a game. Still though, it’s a devastating injury. The Cardinals can overcome it, but nobody can replace Mathieu’s versatility or playmaking ability.


profootballtalkPFT’s Week 16 power rankings

#2 (holding steady)

Losing Tyrann Mathieu will make it a lot harder to get past Seattle and Carolina.


usatodayUSA Today Power Rankings

#3 (no movement)

Tyrann Mathieu’s loss is a major one, especially considering caliber of quarterbacks Cards will see next month.


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