After starting the season with a perfect 4-0 record, the Arizona Cardinals are not only lone survivors as the last unbeaten team past Week 4 but risers across NFL power rankings.
Heading into an NFC West showdown against the Los Angeles Rams, NFL.com had Arizona at No. 11 in the power rankings, with Los Angeles as the No. 1 team.
After beating the Rams in 37-20 fashion on Sunday, the Cardinals saw a massive jump.
Because you beat the No. 1 team, you get the crown. That’s exactly the case for the Cardinals, as NFL.com has them at the top spot ahead of Week 5 and the Rams falling to No. 9.
What made the 37-20 triumph especially impressive was that it wasn’t all about a dynamo performance by Kyler Murray, though the rising third-year quarterback was again excellent. Instead, this was a team effort: The offense had its way with the Rams’ elite defense, while the Cards’ defense forced two early turnovers and kept the Matthew Stafford-led Rams air attack out of sync all afternoon. The victory was the first for the Cardinals in nine tries against Sean McVay’s Rams. – Dan Hanzus
As for ESPN’s rankings, they have the Cardinals at No. 2, just behind the 3-1 Buffalo Bills. With that being said, the Cardinals did rise six spots on ESPN after being ranked No. 8 a week ago.
They have the Bills at the top spot due to the Buffalo’s defense pitching two shutouts in four games. However, the Cardinals’ quick start to the season has caught ESPN’s attention.
It’s not that the Cardinals being good is surprising, it’s that everything is clicking so early in the season. The offense added some important pieces this season and it was expected that they would all jell, but for all of it to come together and to be undefeated, lead the NFC West, have one of the best offenses in the league and an early MVP candidate at quarterback — well, that is what’s surprising. The early meshing of everything is as good of a scenario as it gets for the Cardinals. Even though Arizona started hot last year and then went into a tailspin, this start feels different. — Josh Weinfuss
ESPN dropped the Rams down just one spot to No. 3. They have all four teams of the NFC West joining the Cardinals and Rams in the top-15, with the Seattle Seahawks at No. 13 and the San Francisco 49ers at No. 15.