NFL power rankings: Arizona Cardinals worst team in NFC West in 2021?

Jeremy Cluff
Arizona Republic
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Will the Arizona Cardinals be the worst team in the NFC West in 2021?

Several early NFL power rankings for next season evidently think so.

The Cardinals are ranked behind the Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers in many writers' rankings of the teams in the NFL for 2021.

Arizona went 8-8 in 2020, narrowly missing the playoffs.

The Seahawks won the division with a 12-4 record, while the Rams went 10-6.

The 49ers were 6-10, but NFL writers evidently expect them to bounce back next season.

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ESPN has the Rams at No. 5 in its early power rankings for 2021, with the Seahawks at No. 8 and the 49ers at No. 9.

It ranks the Cardinals No. 14.

Josh Weinfuss writes of the Cardinals: "After Week 7, the Cardinals were 5-2 and poised not just for a playoff berth but potentially a deep run in the postseason. Then, they went 3-6 to finish the year, including a loss to the Rams in a battle of backup quarterbacks in Week 17 with a postseason berth on the line, and were left watching the playoffs on the couch. What went wrong, and how do they keep it from happening again? That's what the Cardinals need to figure out this offseason."

NBC Sports has the Rams at No. 4 and the Seahawks at No. 7. It has the 49ers ranked No. 9 and the Cardinals No. 11.

Josh Schrock writes of Arizona: "Arizona made strides in Year 2 of the Kingsbury-Kyler era, but the Cardinals finished the season 3-6 to miss the playoffs. The Cardinals have to do a better job of protecting Murray and Kingsbury has to stop getting in the way. I expect another leap from Murray in Year 3 and the Cardinals to make the postseason for the first time since Carson Palmer was under center."

The Sporting News puts the Rams at No. 5, the 49ers at No 8, the Seahawks at No. 9 and the Cardinals at No. 14.

"Kyler Murray and Kilff Kingsbury had them on the verge of the NFC playoffs with a run-heavy attack buoyed by some improved downfield passing," Vinnie Iyer writes. "Their defense also showed how many playmakers it had. They might be out of luck to get in the tournament again, however, in a division that's only getting stronger."

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NFL writers are predicting a bounce-back season for the San Francisco 49ers, and some problems for the Arizona Cardinals in the 2021 NFl season.

The Baltimore Sun puts the Rams at No. 6, the 49ers at No. 7 and the Seahawks at No. 8.

It has the Cardinals at No. 15.

The Ringer ranks the Rams No. 5, the Seahawks No. 7, the 49ers No. 10 and the Cardinals No. 16.

Danny Kelly writes of the Cardinals: "The Kyler Murray–to–DeAndre Hopkins connection is an exciting one, but head coach and play-caller Kliff Kingsbury needs to figure out some ways to get this team to be more consistently explosive on offense. Defensively, Arizona had a promising year and finished 10th in DVOA, but with cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and Dre Kirkpatrick, linebacker De’Vondre Campbell, and pass rushers Haason Reddick and Markus Golden all slated for free agency, this unit has some major question marks for 2021."

Yahoo Sports puts the Rams at No. 6, the Seahawks at No. 7, the 49ers at No. 11 and the Cardinals at No. 17.

Frank Schwab writes of Arizona: "Falling flat and failing to make the playoffs was a tough blow. Still, progress was made. The third year for the Kliff Kingsbury era will be telling, with some Cardinals fans already getting antsy about the coach’s mistakes."

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