Cardinals at No. 18 in Peter King's Power Rankings

Howard Balzer

Power rankings don’t mean a whole lot in early June, especially when teams haven’t even been able to get their players “on the grass” yet, but it’s still intriguing to see where many project the Cardinals.

Peter King of NBCSports.com produced rankings in his column this week and had the Cardinals 18th in the league. Most notably, they were only two spots behind the division-rival Los Angeles Rams. King had the San Francisco 49ers fourth and Seattle Seahawks sixth.

He is definitely on the Tampa Bay Bucs Bandwagon, placing them fifth. The biggest eye-openers are having the Las Vegas Raiders eighth and New England Patriots 21st.

King writes this about the Cardinals: “In all the excitement about the offensively intriguing Cardinals — has there ever been the kind of national sis-boom-bah about a team coming off a five-win season? — it’s good to remember a couple of things. As compelling as the Kyler/Kliff Kards are entering year two of their marriage, they were 21st in total yards and 16th in points last year, and 29th in red-zone efficiency. But I have them rising nonetheless. Kliff Kingsbury, though no one believed him, kept saying last year the key to his offense was the run game, and he proved it: Only one team had a better per-carry average than Arizona’s 5.03 yards. The underappreciated Kenyan Drake returns after 166, 137 and 110-yard rushing games in his eight weeks as a Card, and, of course, DeAndre Hopkins instantly becomes the NFL’s acquisition of the year. One of the best receivers in the NFL should be Kyler Murray’s best friend long after Larry Fitzgerald (37 in August) retires.

“I’d have had the Cards higher if I trusted the defense (28th in points allowed, 32nd in yards allowed in ’19). Other than Joe Burrow, Isaiah Simmons is probably the rookie with the most juice in the NFL entering the season. Will he be an enforcer safety? A hybrid safety/linebacker who, in a pinch, lines up in the slot? Strictly linebacker? Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph seems inclined to make him a linebacker as a rookie, which, in this odd offseason without much on-field practice time to experiment, might make the most sense. Putting Simmons in the middle of the defense could still enable the Cards to play a bunch of imbalanced defenses, with Simmons still able to spy or cover or blitz. So many interesting teams to watch in 2020 ... Arizona’s in the top five.”

Here is how King ranks the entire league:

  1. Kansas City
  2. Baltimore
  3. New Orleans
  4. San Francisco
  5. Tampa Bay
  6. Seattle
  7. Tennessee
  8. Las Vegas
  9. Dallas
  10. Pittsburgh
  11. Minnesota
  12. Green Bay
  13. Buffalo
  14. Indianapolis
  15. Philadelphia
  16. L.A. Rams
  17. Chicago
  18. Cardinals
  19. Miami
  20. Denver
  21. New England
  22. Houston
  23. L.A. Chargers
  24. Cleveland
  25. Atlanta
  26. Detroit
  27. Cincinnati
  28. N.Y. Jets
  29. Carolina
  30. N.Y. Giants
  31. Washington
  32. Jacksonville
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