Saturday, September 10, 2022

Arizona Cardinals Week 1 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2022 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Below you will find a Week 1 roundup for the Arizona Cardinals in our consensus 2022 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 18

Who's on the hot seat: Coach Kliff Kingsbury

Yes, Kingsbury signed an extension this offseason, and, yes, he has led the Cardinals to three straight years of annual improvement. Yes, he led them to the playoffs for the first time since 2015, but it's the late-season collapses that have put Kingsbury on the hot seat. If it happens for the third straight season and affects the Cardinals' seeding or playoff lives, Kingsbury will be put under a microscope after the season like he has never been before. Last season, Arizona should've been a top-two seed in the NFC but ended up as a wild card. For Kingsbury to survive, that can't happen again. -- Rank: 16

Has the quarterback been set up for success? Kyler Murray and the Cardinals went through a tumultuous offseason together. It ended well enough: Murray received a fat contract extension, even if the bizarre (and subsequently excised) "Hey bud, work harder!" stipulation ensured the good vibes were only temporary. Now look at Murray's principal supporting cast on offense with DeAndre Hopkins serving a six-game suspension to start the season: Hollywood Brown, Rondale Moore, James Conner, A.J. Green, Zach Ertz. It's not a bad group, per se, but does it scare you? The Cardinals' commitment to Murray showed their faith that he's a superstar-level QB -- he'll need to be to keep Arizona above water in a loaded NFC West.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 19

The coach, general manager and quarterback all have new big contracts. That puts the pressure on all of them. Kyler Murray, who has the mega-deal, has to be better down the stretch than he's been the last two seasons.

The Athletic -- Rank: 21

The good news: Marquise Brown sure is fast.

The bad news: The Cardinals start the season with a tough three-game stretch against the Chiefs, at the Raiders and against the Rams. In an organization prone to finger-pointing, things could get ugly before Hopkins has a chance to help right the ship in Week 7. And then the new Call of Duty comes out at the end of October and all bets are off.

Nugget to remember: More than half of the projected starting offense (including the suspended Hopkins) is on the wrong side of 30. Even with a young quarterback, this is not necessarily a team on the rise.

The Ringer -- Rank: 14

The Call of Duty lobbies are still laughing at the Cardinals. After a 10-2 start last season, the team lost five of its last six games, including a 34-11 blowout loss to the Rams in the wild-card round. The Kliff Kingsbury-Kyler Murray era in Arizona has been infamous for late-season struggles, and their latest slump carried over into the offseason. Star wideout DeAndre Hopkins will miss the first six games of the 2022 season while serving a suspension for violating the NFL's PED policy, and then there's the a four-hour "independent study" requirement for Murray that was included in, and then deleted from, his new contract extension that included $104.3 million guaranteed at signing. Time is running out for Kingsbury and Murray to find enough consistency to produce a playoff win that keeps their star quarterback from streaming on Twitch in January.

Yahoo! -- Rank: 15

The Cardinals will be tested right out of the gate with a home game against the Chiefs. We'll find out if Arizona's cornerbacks are good enough by facing Patrick Mahomes.

PFT -- Rank: 13

They'll be fine in September and October. The pressure will be on in November and December, especially with the Hard Knocks in-season cameras and microphones there.

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