NFL power rankings head-scratchers: Arizona Cardinals as low as No. 5 entering NFL Week 12

Jeremy Cluff
Arizona Republic

The Arizona Cardinals currently sit at 9-2 in the NFL, the best record in the league.

Their two losses were on a last-second interception by the Green Bay Packers and to the Carolina Panthers without Kyler Murray.

According to most NFL writers, they are the NFL's best team 11 weeks into the season.

Most.

A few sites and writers evidently still aren't sold on the Cardinals, judging by their rankings for the team in their latest NFL power rankings.

They tried to justify their ranking for Arizona in their Week 12 NFL power rankings.

Do you agree with their justifications?

NFL Week 12 picks, predictions:

USA TODAY Sports' List Wire: Cardinals ranked No. 2 in NFL power rankings

The site has the 7-4 Kansas City Chiefs ranked ahead of the Cardinals.

Barry Werner writes of Arizona: "Arizona got a career game out of journeyman Colt McCoy. Yes, the Cardinals have won 9 of 11, but they need to get Kyler Murray back because you can’t expect a backup QB to deliver this way every week."

He writes of Kansas City: "Chris Jones was the man as the defense dominated the Dallas Cowboys. That makes four wins in a row for the Chiefs, who appear to have shaken whatever was troubling them at the start of the season. Look out. Yes, we are looking into the crystal football and seeing a major run by K.C."

Evidently, Werner ranked the Chiefs No. 1 because of potential, but shouldn't the team's play this season be taken into account? The Chiefs have lost to the Baltimore Ravens, Los Angeles Chargers, Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans.

Their loss to the Titans in Tennessee was particularly bad, with a 27-3 score. The Cardinals interestingly beat the Titans in Nashville, 38-13.

NFL Week 12 game odds, television information:

Some NFL power rankings have the Cardinals as low as No. 5 in the NFL. Yes, No. 5. Seriously?

Sports Illustrated: Cardinals tied for No. 2 in NFL power rankings

The site has the Chiefs No. 1 and the Cardinals tied with the New England Patriots, Packers, Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers  for second.

Gary Gramling justifies the Chiefs ranking as follows: "But they have four losses—outrageous! You should stop reading right now and go do something else with your day. The funny thing about the Chiefs is that they’ve been the best team in football all year, it was just a matter of the fluky turnovers drying up, which they always do. But the fluky turnovers haven’t dried up—Sunday’s win featured a chase-down fumble and an interception that bounced off Travis Kelce’s hands—and they’re still on a four-game winning streak."

Of the Cardinals' ranking, he writes: "They came away with two wins in three Colt McCoy starts (though they should start McCoy every time they face the Seahawks considering how thoroughly he owns that team) and head into the bye with the best record in football. The 2–2 stretch over the last month saw them regress closer to the mean in small-sample-size stats like fumble-recovery rate, fourth-down efficiency and red-zone efficiency (though all three are still unsustainably high on the season as a whole), but nine wins with Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins coming back (presumably) fresh is a good place to be."

The Patriots are 7-4 on the season, like the Chiefs. The Packers are 8-3 and the Cowboys and Buccaneers are both 7-3.

The site evidently doesn't think the Cardinals' 9-2 record, including 2-1 mark without Murray, is very impressive.

It is an improvement for the Cardinals, however. Sports Illustrated did have Arizona ranked No. 4 in its NFL power rankings after Week 9.

More:NFL power rankings: Arizona Cardinals get respect, top ranking with Week 11 win in Seattle

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Draft Kings: Cardinals No. 2 in NFL power rankings

This site has Arizona behind the Patriots. It justifies the ranking by the Patriots' point differential against the spread this season, where it has New England +98.

The Cardinals are +69.

David Fucillo writes: "Week 11 is complete and the New England Patriots are officially the hottest team in the league. Bill Belichick’s squad has won five straight games, which has them in first place in the AFC East by half a game. They’re impressing on both sides of the ball and suddenly lead the league in point differential."

The site had Arizona ranked No. 4 last week, so I guess No. 2 is an improvement.

More:NFL Week 12 schedule, television information for all 15 Week 12 NFL games in 2021 season

The Lines: Cardinals No. 4 team in NFL power rankings

This site curiously has Arizona behind the Chiefs, Packers and Buccaneers.

Of Arizona it writes: "The Cardinals have won two of three games without Kyler Murray (ankle) and DeAndre Hopkins (hamstring) and the absence of their star WR should allow Zach Ertz and Rondale Moore to settle into their roles on offense when Hopkins is eventually able to return."

More:NFL Week 12 odds: Money lines, point spreads, over/unders for every Week 12 NFL game

FTN Bets: Cardinals ranked No. 5 in NFL power rankings

This site has Arizona behind the Packers (who lost to the Vikings last week), Buffalo Bills (who are just 6-4!), Buccaneers, Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams (who are 7-3).

Yes, the Rams. The team that the Cardinals beat in Los Angeles earlier this season, 37-20.

I guess beating a team head-to-head on the road and having a better record than them doesn't matter.

The site writes of Arizona: "The Colt McCoy magic will only go so far. They need Kyler back to compete with the best teams."

Where would you rank the Cardinals in NFL power rankings right now?

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

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