A weekly examination of the Cardinals' ESPN.com Power Ranking:
Preseason: 26 | Last week: 17 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002
Moving up in the ESPN.com Power Rankings is a simple formula: Win and advance -- and it’s not even March yet. The Cardinals jumped four spots after recovering from a spotty first quarter to all but shut down the Jacksonville Jaguars in a 27-14 win. And this just wasn’t your typical win over the Jags, it was the coming-out party for an offense that’s finally evolved 11 weeks into the season. Carson Palmer threw for 419 yards because he was given time and didn’t have to fend off waves of pass-rushers. It’s amazing what a running game can do for an offense, and Arizona is finding out firsthand that it can’t be a dominant team in the NFL without a threatening run game.
That brings us to a legitimate question: Just how good are the Cardinals? If their offense had been playing like this all season, they would’ve beaten St. Louis and San Francisco, and possibly even Seattle. A record of 6-4 could easily be 8-2. Four teams still left on their schedule sit in front of them, so the final six games will be a litmus test for just how good this offense is. It has beaten up on Atlanta, Houston and Jacksonville -- not exactly the upper echelon of the NFL.