NFL power rankings head-scratchers: Arizona Cardinals as low as No. 7 entering Week 7

Jeremy Cluff
Arizona Republic
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Most NFL power rankings have the 6-0 Arizona Cardinals ranked No. 1 six weeks into the season.

After all, the team is the only undefeated team in the league and it has some very impressive wins.

But not everyone is a believer in the Cardinals after their start to the season, evidently.

We found some NFL power rankings that don't have the Cardinals ranked No. 1 in the league entering Week 7 of the season.

In fact, some of them don't have the team ranked No. 2, or even No. 3.

A couple of them even have the unbeaten Cardinals ranked No. 7 in the league.


NFL Week 7 picks, predictions:

Sports Illustrated was one of the sites that had the Cardinals ranked No. 7.

It had the Los Angeles Rams No. 1 (who the Cardinals handily beat in Los Angeles on Oct. 3, 37-20), Tampa Bay Buccaneers No. 2, Kansas City Chiefs No. 3, Baltimore Ravens No. 4, Green Bay Packers No. 5 and Buffalo Bills No. 6 (a team that has two losses, with the most recent being a 34-31 loss to the Tennessee Titans, a team the Cardinals beat 38-13 on Sept. 12).

Gary Gramling explained his ranking for the Cardinals: "You have to feel great about the defense as well as the individual play of Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins. What’s worrisome is an offensive system that requires the quarterback to maintain an MVP level over 17 games. They’ve been great, but they’ve also been fortunate along the way. The Cardinals are converting a lot of third and very longs while also stopping opponents on fourth downs at an unsustainable rate (10 of 14 so far, league average usually hovers around 50%). They’ve recovered 18 of 23 fumbles (expected fumble recovery rate for any team is 50%). Between fourth-down defense and fumble recoveries they’re stealing two possessions per game so far. They’re the only team in football to have opposing kickers miss three attempts inside 50 yards, one of two teams to have opposing kickers miss four PATs, and are top 10 in offensive and defensive red-zone efficiency, typically a volatile stat unless you have a Derrick Henry on your roster. In many ways, it smells a bit like the 2020 edition—albeit with a better defense. But, mostly, they’re 6–0, which actually counts even more than their position in some guy’s power rankings."

NFL Week 7:

Gramling at least had the Cardinals among 10 teams in his "Super Bowl contenders" category, but having Arizona ranked No. 7 in the league after a 6-0 start with their impressive wins?

That seems really low.

But he is not alone. also put the Cardinals No. 7 in its NFL power rankings.

It had the Bills No. 1 (even with two losses?), the Rams No. 2, the Buccaneers No. 3, the Chiefs No. 4, the Ravens No. 5 and the Packers No. 6.

It wrote of the Cardinals: "They remain a real threat in the NFC and are in the driver's seat."

The team in the "driver's seat" in the NFC is really the seventh-best team in the league after Week 6?

Evidently, going 6-0 with one of those wins being a dismantling of the Rams isn't impressive enough to be ranked ahead of six other teams, including that Los Angeles squad you destroyed on the road.

More:NFL power rankings: Arizona Cardinals blast Cleveland Browns, gain believers with 6-0 start

More:NFL Week 7 schedule, TV information for all 13 Week 7 NFL games

Some NFL writers are apparently not impressed with the Arizona Cardinals' 6-0 start to the season.

NBC Sports has the Cardinals No. 3 in its latest power ranking, behind the Rams and the Buccaneers.

Jake Levin wrote: "Arizona's undefeated campaign continued with a 37-14 victory over the Browns on Sunday. It was another spectacular showing from QB Kyler Murray, who tossed four touchdown passes. Two of them went to his favorite wideout, DeAndre Hopkins. They'll look to stay unbeaten next week when they host the Texans."

The Washington Post put the Packers No. 1, Buccaneers No. 2 and Cardinals No. 3 in its ranking.

Mark Maske wrote of Arizona: "No head coach? No matter. The Cardinals, after a week filled with coronavirus-related issues, won Sunday in Cleveland minus Coach Kliff Kingsbury following his positive test for the virus. They remain the league’s only unbeaten team, and there’s no doubting at this point that they are for real. All that remains to be sorted out from this point onward is exactly where they stand in relation to the other NFC heavyweights. But they certainly belong."

At least the Rams were not ahead of Arizona.

More:NFL Week 7 odds: Money lines, point spreads, over/unders for Week 7 NFL games

More:2022 Super Bowl odds for every NFL team: Arizona Cardinals' odds surge after 6-0 start

Walter Football had the Cardinals No. 4, with the Chiefs No. 3, Bills No. 2 and Buccaneers No. 1.

It wrote: "I never imagined the Cardinals would improve to 6-0 earlier last week when it was announced that Chandler Jones and Rodney Hudson would be out, and Kyler Murray was banged up, and Kliff Kingsbury wouldn't be coaching because of a minor illness. And yet, the Cardinals destroyed the Browns, who were in rough shape with their missing tackles."

Power rankings are subjective, but the Bills are 4-2 on the season, the Chiefs are 3-3 and the Buccaneers are 5-1.

What is the Cardinals' record again?

The Baltimore Sun put the Buccaneers at No. 1 in its power ranking and the Cardinals at No. 2.

At least it didn't have the team behind the Rams.

The 33rd Team placed the Cardinals No. 3 in its power ranking, behind the No. 1 Buccaneers and No. 2 Cowboys. 

Paul Domowitch wrote of Arizona "The rich get richer. The Cardinals traded for three-time Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz last week, giving Kyler Murray yet another pass-catching weapon. Murray has a 116.2 passer rating, but has had problems with ball security. He’s fumbled an NFL-high 6 times already (lost none)."

Every team has issues, but the Cardinals have risen above every challenge they have faced so far.

Evidently they haven't done enough, in some writer's minds, to be higher in their NFL power rankings.

But what more could they possibly have done six weeks into the season?

More:NFL playoff picture: Arizona Cardinals still top NFC after Week 6 win vs. Cleveland Browns

More:Houston Texans vs. Arizona Cardinals picks, predictions: Who wins NFL Week 7 game?

Reach Jeremy Cluff at Follow him on Twitter @Jeremy_Cluff.

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