Cardinals fall in new power rankings entering Week 16

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The NFL regular season is nearing its end. Only three weeks remain and we are beginning to get an idea of how teams will close the season. For the Arizona Cardinals, things have not gone well. They have lost two in a row and have gone 3-4 in their last seven games after starting 7-0.

As a result, in the latest USA TODAY power rankings from Nate Davis, they have fallen a pair of spots again. They are now No. 8.

They’re 1-2 since the return of QB Kyler Murray, who’s got three TDs, three INTs and an 82.4 passer rating in that stretch. Kliff Kingsbury’s teams tend to be a horror show after Halloween, and Arizona has a scary matchup with Indianapolis on Christmas.

This end-of-season-fading narrative won’t go away unless the Cardinals turn it around. They are 0-4 over the last two seasons in games in which they could clinch a playoff spot with a win.

They went from 5-2 to 8-8 last season and missing the playoffs. Kingsbury’s teams at Texas Tech tended to fade late in the season.

The only way to change that narrative is to start with a win this weekend.

The Colts are a tough matchup. They play physical, disciplined defense and have the best running back in the game.

But of the Cardinals come out and score points, get a couple of stops and force Carson Wentz to have to consistently make plays, there is the potential for mistakes. All six of Wentz’ interceptions have come against expected playoff teams — the Rams, Titans, Buccaneers and Patriots.

It is time for the Cardinals to prove they have the toughness to work through the injuries they have sustained. If they fade, the notion they are frauds will linger unless they make a run in the playoffs.

But they have to get there first.

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