TEMPE, Ariz. – World, meet the Arizona Cardinals.
Arizona Cardinals, meet the world.
Now that introductions are over, maybe the Cardinals will be recognized for what they’ve accomplished through their first eight games this season: Compile the league’s best record at 7-1, claim first place in the NFC West and hold the top seed in the NFC. Evidently, that wasn’t enough for the Cardinals to ascend to No. 1 in this week’s ESPN NFL Power Rankings.
They’re No. 2.
Right behind the New England Patriots .
While there may be better teams, nobody else has one loss, but the Patriots have something the Cardinals don’t have -- and maybe never will: the name.
The Patriots conjure thoughts of winning, Super Bowls and Tom Brady. The Cardinals make people think about losing, regardless of this year, and that’s tough to shake. If their success the last season-and-a-half has proven anything, it’s that the national reputation of the team hasn’t changed. Obviously voters are still skeptical of the Cardinals, and while history doesn’t blame them, Bruce Arians’ Cards aren’t your father’s or grandfather’s Cards. Before Arians, four wins to open a season led to nine straight losses. An eight-game losing streak is still a possibility, of course, but it’s more unlikely under Arians than it has been maybe ever for this organization.
The Cardinals should be No. 1 this week. The top team, the Broncos, lost. Arizona was No. 2 and should have jumped one spot. While the 7-2 Patriots beat the 6-2 Broncos, Arizona topped Dallas with one of the most impressive defensive performances of the season, holding running back DeMarco Murray to less than 100 yards for the first time this season. Yes, New England beat Denver which beat Arizona, but New England lost to Kansas City and Miami. Bad losses.
After a game like that, any other team that was 7-1 and sitting in second would have been No.1 this week.