Friday, December 3, 2021

Arizona Cardinals Week 13 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2021 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Here is where the Arizona Cardinals rank in terms of average, best and worst:

  • Average ranking: 1.8 (2nd)
  • Best ranking: 1 (Multiple)
  • Worst ranking: 3 (USA Today)

Below you will find a Week 13 roundup for the Cardinals in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 2

Losing two out of three games will cause confidence in a team to take a hit, but Arizona regained a lot of that confidence lost by beating the 49ers and Seahawks with backup quarterback Colt McCoy. However, the Cardinals' loss to the Packers in Week 8 is a definite cause for concern considering there's a good chance Arizona could see Green Bay at some point in the playoffs. -- Josh Weinfuss -- Rank: 2

General manager Steve Keim deserves a bonus star in his eventual end-of-year evaluation for the Zach Ertz trade. The Cardinals acquired the three-time Pro Bowl tight end from the Eagles in exchange for rookie sixth-rounder Tay Gowan and a 2022 fifth-round pick, and Ertz has already earned back that investment and then some. Ertz has stepped into a playmaker role in five games in Arizona, collecting 22 catches for 269 yards and three touchdowns -- two of them coming in the Week 11 win over the Seahawks. His presence has been especially vital at a time when injuries have knocked Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins out of the lineup. Don't be surprised when Ertz is making big catches in the playoffs. He's been known to do that.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 1

They come off their bye as the top team in the league heading to December. The good news is they are getting healthy for that stretch run.

USA Today -- Rank: 3

Weird to drop the NFC leaders and their league-best 9-2 record after a bye week? Maybe. But it's still not clear if QB Kyler Murray and WR DeAndre Hopkins are ready to return, nor is it clear if coach Kliff Kingsbury is interested in the vacant Oklahoma job or not. Potential distraction for a team that's avoided them to this point.

The Athletic -- Rank: 1

Problem area: Run defense. Teams aren't attacking Arizona on the ground all that often; it has faced the fifth-fewest rushing attempts in the league this season. But when opponents do run, they are successful, with an average of 4.74 yards per attempt. Only the Vikings and Steelers are allowing more yards per rush, and according to TruMedia, the Cardinals are giving up 3.07 rushing yards after contact, the third most in the league. Why are we focusing on run defense here? Because Arizona's final three games are against strong rushing teams: the Colts (with Jonathan Taylor), the Cowboys (with Ezekiel Elliott) and the Seahawks (which will feature a run-heavy offense whether it's working or not). Even the winless Lions, whom the Cardinals face in Week 15, are a decent rushing team. Detroit averages more than 4.6 yards per carry.

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