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However, one week later, after all the other top teams in the NFC either lost or did not play, and after the Cardinals beat the San Francisco 49ers 31-17 on the road without Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green or Chase Edmonds, they find themselves in the No. 1 slot of Nate Davis’ new power rankings for USA TODAY.
Are they unequivocally the league’s top team? Hard to say, but it’s not like anyone else has an airtight claim. What Arizona does have is the NFL’s best record (8-1) and a proclivity for overcoming adversity, whether it’s coach Kliff Kingsbury and others benched by COVID-19, or injuries sidelining QB Kyler Murray (ankle), WR DeAndre Hopkins (hamstring), RB Chase Edmonds (ankle), and DE J.J. Watt (shoulder), who might still eventually return. And OLB Chandler Jones, who dealt with the virus himself, also appears back on track, registering his first sack since notching five in Week 1 to become the franchise’s all-time leader (67). Yep, let’s call the Cards the best. At least for now.
The NFC is incredibly close. The Cardinals should be, for now, at the top again. They have the best record. They have the best resume, having gone 5-0 on the road with wins over three playoffs teams from last season and one (the 49ers) who many felt would be a playoff team this year. They have scored over 30 points seven times. They have held opponents to 20 or fewer points seven times.
They would be undefeated if A.J. Green had simply turned around in the end zone against the Packers at the end of the game.
Are they the best team in the NFL? I can’t think of anyone better at the moment.