NFL power rankings head-scratchers: Arizona Cardinals as low as No. 5 entering NFL Week 10

Jeremy Cluff
Arizona Republic

The Arizona Cardinals have the best record in the NFL at 8-1.

They have beaten a couple of teams that are considered top contenders this season, the Tennessee Titans and Los Angeles Rams.

Their only loss came on a fluke interception at the very end of a game against the Green Bay Packers.

But some NFL writers don't think the Cardinals are the best team in the NFL after Week 9 of the season.

Some don't even have them as the second-best team in their Week 10 NFL power rankings (or third, or fourth).

Does that make sense?

Take a look at some recent NFL power rankings that don't have the Cardinals No. 1, and what the writers of those rankings are saying about Arizona after their impressive short-handed win over the San Francisco 49ers in Week 9 on the road (which evidently wasn't impressive enough).

NFL Week 10 picks, predictions:

New York Post: Arizona Cardinals ranked No. 3 in NFL power rankings

Ryan Dunleavy has the Cardinals behind the Tennessee Titans and Green Bay Packers in his rankings.

He writes of Arizona: "No Kyler Murray, no DeAndre Hopkins, no A.J. Green, no problem for the Cardinals against the 49ers. James Conner scored three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving) after Chase Edmonds also went out, and Colt McCoy showed why he is one of the NFL’s most valuable backup quarterbacks. Markus Golden’s three sacks keyed the defense."

That's nice and all, but didn't the Cardinals beat the Tennessee Titans in Week 1 of the season in Tennessee? (They did, 38-13).

Doesn't Arizona have a better record than Tennessee? (They do, Arizona is 8-1, Tennessee is 7-2).

The Packers are also 7-2 after losing in Week 9 to the Kansas City Chiefs without Aaron Rodgers, but I guess you could justify still having them ahead of Arizona because they did play without Rodgers.

But Arizona also played without its starting quarterback, Kyler Murray, in Week 9 on the road and was able to beat the 49ers, 31-17.

Dunleavy dropped Arizona a spot in the rankings after that win. He dropped the Packers a spot after their loss. He elevated the Titans three spots after their 28-16 win over the Rams in Los Angeles.

Did we mention that the Cardinals also beat the Rams in Los Angeles this season? (The score in that game was 37-20).

More:NFL power rankings: Arizona Cardinals rise after NFL Week 9 win over San Francisco 49ers

NFL Week 10 game odds, television information:

Sports Illustrated: Arizona Cardinals ranked No. 4 in NFL power rankings

The site compiles its rankings based on voting by six writers and it has Arizona behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Packers and Rams this week, but ahead of the No. 5 Titans.

Connor Orr writes: "The NFL’s most surprising and dominant team through the first half of the season just proved it could beat a quality opponent without its two most important players, including a starting quarterback on MVP pace. Kliff Kingsbury’s squad went from situationally dangerous to a legitimate Super Bowl contender in Year 3 of the experiment. Can they keep pace down the stretch?"

Arizona interestingly got two first place votes among SI's voters, but one voter had the Cardinals sixth. Yes, sixth.

The Cardinals have been the "most surprising and dominant team" in the NFL, but they are the sixth best?

The Buccaneers have looked good, but they have two losses and one of those was to the Rams, a team that Cardinals beat. Tampa Bay's loss to the Rams was a 34-24 defeat in Los Angeles in Week 3.

They also lost to the New Orleans Saints in Week 8, 36-27.

Arizona's only loss was to the Packers in Week 8, 24-21.

The Packers' losses were to the Saints in Week 1, 38-3 and the Chiefs in Week 9, 13-7.

More:NFL playoff picture: Arizona Cardinals, Tennessee Titans make statements with Week 9 wins

The Arizona Cardinals have impressed this season. But some NFL writers evidently haven't been impressed enough.

The Lines: Arizona Cardinals ranked No. 4 in NFL power rankings

Of the Cardinals, the site writes: "No Kyler Murray, no DeAndre Hopkins, no problem for the Cardinals, who steamrolled the rival 49ers behind a solid performance from backup QB Colt McCoy and more dominant play from their top-ranked defense."

The site interestingly has Arizona behind the Buccaneers, Rams and Buffalo Bills in its Week 10 NFL power rankings.

Yes, the Bills, who are 5-3 on the season and are coming off a 9-6 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Buffalo also has a 23-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers and a 34-31 loss to the Titans, a team that I guess we need to remind people that the Cardinals beat in Tennessee in Week 1 of the season, 38-13.

More:NFL Week 10 odds: Money lines, point spreads, over/unders for games on Week 10 NFL schedule

Sportnaut: Arizona Cardinals ranked No. 2 in NFL power rankings

The site has Arizona behind the Buccaneers.

Matt Johnson writes: "After losing to the Packers’ backup receiving corps in Week 8, the Arizona Cardinals responded with a Week 9 victory led by their backup quarterback and receivers. Far more important than the victory, which gives them the best record in the NFL, Arizona bought Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins time to heal."

The site proclaims the Bucs as the "best team in the NFL," despite their two losses.

Johnson writes of Tampa Bay: "While it might not be reflected in the NFL standings, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the best team in the NFL. The bye allowed Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Brown, Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting time to recover from the injuries that sidelined them for weeks. This is also the same team that averaged 33.8 points per game and allowed just 19.1 points per contest in their eight-game win streak out of the bye last year. That’s why the Bucs claim the top spot in Sportsnaut’s NFL power rankings."

Again, doesn't Arizona have a better record than Tampa Bay? Didn't the Cardinals beat the Rams in Los Angeles, while the Buccaneers lost to them there?

Shouldn't that count for something?

More:NFL Week 10 schedule, TV information for all 14 Week 10 NFL games in 2021 season

FTNBets: Arizona Cardinals ranked No. 5 in NFL power rankings

We saved the lowest ranking that we could find for the Cardinals for last.

No. 5 in the NFL? This site has the Buccaneers No. 1, the Bills No. 2, the Packers No. 3 and the Rams No. 4.

Of Arizona, it writes: "Assuming they get healthy, they are a real threat. Winning convincing against SF without (Kyler Murray) was impressive."

Evidently just not "impressive" enough to be ranked higher in the rankings than four teams that you have a better record than with one being a team you dominated at their home ... 

Where would you rank the Cardinals in your NFL power rankings after Week 9? Vote in our poll.

More:Carolina Panthers vs. Arizona Cardinals picks, predictions: Who wins NFL Week 10 game?

Reach Jeremy Cluff at jeremy.cluff@arizonarepublic.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jeremy_Cluff.

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