The Arizona Cardinals pulled off an impressive upset victory in week two against the New England Patriots. In the days leading up to the game I told Cardinals fans they needed to be patient in order for the league to respect them. Well, this week they moved up six spots in the NFL ESPN Power Rankings and for the rest of the season no team will treat them as an easy win.
What’s different about the Cardinals than the rest of the league? They don’t really have a superstar player that the rest of the league knows about. Larry Fitzgerald is good, but since he doesn’t have a quarterback to get the ball to him on a consistent basis; he has fallen to the middle of the pack. The Cardinals win as a team and they lose as a team. At 2-0 the Cardinals are sitting tied with the San Francisco 49ers for first place in, what seems to be, a tough NFC West Division. However, even as a first place team they need to improve in a lot of places in a big way.
What is the biggest area they need to improve in? It should be obvious to Cardinals fans, but it is the quarterback. I have said it time and time again if it wasn’t for Kevin Kolb the Cardinals could be sitting at 0-2. However, they are in first place and the sky is the limit for this team. Kolb needs to find away to get more comfortable in the pocket. He always seems to behave like he has ants in his pants and he just needs to settle down. Still, I think Kolb is the best option for the Cardinals to continue playing at the level they are at.
The second area the Cardinals need to improve is the offensive line. Kolb was not able to stretch the field that much last week because he didn’t have the time. For Fitzgerald to be effective late, he needs to stretch the field early in the game, so the defensive backs are thinking that he will do more than just a quick slant or a curl route. If the offensive line keeps improving and the defense continues to play at a high level, the Cardinals could move into the top ten with a win this week against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Cardinals were not the only team to make a huge leap in the power rankings. The Seattle Seahawks moved up nine places, the 49ers moved up one place into first, and the St. Louis Rams moved up 4 spots. That means the NFC West moved up an astonishing 20 places in one week.
One thing is for sure, Cardinals fans could not be more excited to play the Eagles. All the pressure is on Andy Reid and his team. The Cardinals will be underdogs again in week three and that is right where they want to be. Michael Vick will be the biggest challenge of the season as the Cardinals continue to play one game at a time.