The new-car smell has dissipated for the Arizona Cardinals after two bad losses to sub-.500 teams.
The most recent defeat came at the hands of the then-1-2 Carolina Panthers, who were without All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey.
Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray and the offense couldn’t find a rhythm, while the defense surrendered more than 440 yards of total offense and 31 points to the Teddy Bridgewater-led Panthers.
The level of play the Cardinals brought to the gridiron Sunday was reflected in power rankings from national media outlets.
|Week 5 NFL Power Rankings: 1-32 poll, plus 2020 playoff chances for every team
||The Cardinals seemed poised for a playoff run — and a deep one at that — after starting 2-0. But now that they’ve lost two in a row to the Lions and Panthers — whom, in theory, the Cards should have beaten after their fast start — the postseason seems like a hope and a dream. There might not be enough time for Arizona to rebound for a playoff spot — even with wins in the next two contests against the Jets and Cowboys — due to a fairly tough schedule after Week 6. The first six games was the stretch of the season when Arizona could have positively determined its playoff fate.|
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||The Cardinals have run into some turbulence after a strong start, and problems can be found on both sides of the ball. Kyler Murray finished with a sub-Gabbert-level 4.3 yards per attempt against the Panthers, and we’ve yet to see proof that this offense has answers if you can take DeAndre Hopkins out of the game plan, as Carolina managed on Sunday. The Arizona defense has been an issue for the entirety of the Kliff Kingsbury era to date, and it’s not a good sign when a Panthers team missing Christian McCaffrey is rolling up nearly 450 total yards while holding the ball for more than 37 minutes of game time.|
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||I may have gotten a little ahead of myself on the Cards through two weeks. I still like a lot of their young talent.|
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||No team has more penalties (32). The Cards had the ball for fewer than 23 minutes Sunday. And six turnovers so far. Plenty to tighten up here.|
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||Kyler Murray’s improvised runs are a great bonus to an offense, but you can’t build an offense around that. The Cardinals had 51 yards on 17 carries from running backs on Sunday, and Murray had 133 passing yards on 31 attempts. Murray had 78 rushing yards, too, but the Cardinals can’t rely on that as the foundation of their offense.|
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||That was not a good look on the road at Carolina. Two straight losses has changed their outlook in a hurry. But now they get the Jets.|
|PFT’s Week Five power rankings
||If teams keep Kyler Murray in the pocket, he can’t do Kyler Murray things.|
|NFL Power Rankings: B/R’s Expert Consensus Rank for Every Team Entering Week 5
||The shine came off the Arizona Cardinals quickly. After two weeks of watching Kyler Murray scramble and DeAndre Hopkins rack up catches, the power rankings slotted the Redbirds in the top 10. Arizona stayed there entering Week 4 despite losing at home to the Detroit Lions. That’s not the case this week—not after a listless performance at Carolina in which the Cardinals trailed 28-7 and Kyler Murray averaged all of 4.3 yards a pass attempt. The defense has also been exposed the past couple of weeks, including allowing 444 total yards and 30 first downs Sunday. However, Arizona linebacker Jordan Hicks told reporters there’s no cause for panic in the desert.|
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||The Kyler Murray Experience continues to be fun, but Kliff Kingsbury’s offense seems fully dependent on him in both the running and passing games. The defense should be a lot better than it is and the Lions’ and the Panthers’ debacles don’t inspire.|
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||The Muddled Middle: 14. Arizona Cardinals (2-2), 15. San Francisco 49ers (2-2), 16. Chicago Bears (3-1), 17. Las Vegas Raiders (2-2), 18. Minnesota Vikings (1-3), 19. Dallas Cowboys (1-3), 20. Philadelphia Eagles (1-2-1), 21. Detroit Lions (1-3), 22. Carolina Panthers (2-2), 23. Los Angeles Chargers (1-3)|
|Arizona Sports NFL Power Rankings Week 5: Cardinals’ tumble continues
||Washed away all the good from a 2-0 start with losses to Lions and Panthers.|