Everybody insists they've seen this movie before.
Watching the Arizona Cardinals begin the season with a load of wins is Déjà vu for fans who watched quarterback Kyler Murray and Co. lead their team to a 5-2 record in 2020 before ultimately missing the postseason in dramatic fashion.
The Cardinals, beginning with general manager Steve Keim and head coach Kliff Kingsbury, made changes to the team in the offseason, grabbing veteran leaders such as defensive end J.J. Watt, center Rodney Hudson and receiver A.J. Green. Arizona also took to the NFL Draft and added young, athletic players such as linebacker Zaven Collins and receiver Rondale Moore.
Through six weeks of play, the Cardinals are 6-0, standing as the league's sole undefeated team. Road victories in places such as Tennessee, Los Angeles (Rams) and now Cleveland bump Arizona's resume' above anybody else's in the league.
At least you would think so. Gary Gramling of Sports Illustrated released his Week 7 power rankings, listing the Cardinals at No. 7 although they did make the list under the category "Super Bowl Contenders."
Here's what Gramling offered about the Cardinals:
"You have to feel great about the defense as well as the individual play of Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins. What’s worrisome is an offensive system that requires the quarterback to maintain an MVP level over 17 games. They’ve been great, but they’ve also been fortunate along the way.
"The Cardinals are converting a lot of third and very longs while also stopping opponents on fourth downs at an unsustainable rate (10 of 14 so far, league average usually hovers around 50%). They’ve recovered 18 of 23 fumbles (expected fumble recovery rate for any team is 50%). Between fourth-down defense and fumble recoveries they’re stealing two possessions per game so far.
"They’re the only team in football to have opposing kickers miss three attempts inside 50 yards, one of two teams to have opposing kickers miss four PATs, and are top 10 in offensive and defensive red-zone efficiency, typically a volatile stat unless you have a Derrick Henry on your roster.
"In many ways, it smells a bit like the 2020 edition—albeit with a better defense. But, mostly, they’re 6–0, which actually counts even more than their position in some guy’s power rankings."
For what it's worth, the 3-3 Kansas City Chiefs sit at No. 2 in Gramling's power rankings.
Of course, this isn't how everyone across the country feels. Scour the vast land of football opinions and for the most part, you'll find Arizona listed as the top team.
Yet Gramling's case proves the Cardinals haven't quite convinced everybody just yet, for one reason or another. However, Arizona isn't in the business of convincing the great people of the world wide web of how good they are; they're in the business of winning football games.
Through six weeks, they've handled business better than anybody in the league.