After three consecutive losses the Arizona Cardinals are surprisingly still in the top 15 of the NFL Power Rankings. According to ESPN, they are at 14 sandwiched in between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. The Cardinals face the San Francisco 49ers in Prime Time on Monday Night Football. The only thing that is keeping this Cardinals team at 14 is their defensive abilities.
The Cardinals’ defense has been able to hold their opponents passers to just 9 completions in two out of the last three games. These numbers are a recipe for success, but they have been unable to bake the cake. The only other bright spot, last week anyway, was the Cardinals blocking and run game. Both of these have not been successful the entire season. LaRod Stephens-Howling came to play on Sunday with his 100 yard performance against the Minnesota Vikings.
This week the Cardinals are in a must win situation. If they lose, San Francisco will hold a commanding lead the way they are playing. A two game lead halfway through the season in a tough division can be difficult, especially when they have the Seattle Seahawks and 49ers late in the season away from home. The Cardinals will need QB John Skelton to play out of his mind this week if they want to win. Not the biggest fan of Skelton, but he can throw the ball better than Kevin Kolb. Skelton just doesn’t know how to finish games and that is what matters in the NFL.
The Power Rankings definitely have some bias for some teams, but when looking down the list it’s getting more accurate every week. The NFC West still has three out of their four teams in the top 15. The Seahawks have not lost to any team outside the division and the 49ers only losses have been to the Vikings and New York Giants. The division has a great home field advantage and that will be huge moving forward.