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Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Power Rankings: No. 24 Arizona Cardinals

By Josh Weinfuss

A weekly examination of the Cardinals' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 26 | Last week: 21 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

For weeks, the Cardinals hovered near the bottom of the ESPN.com Power Rankings as voters figured out the team. They got their answer Thursday night. The Cardinals showed once and for all that quarterback Carson Palmer and the offensive scheme aren’t the primary issues plaguing them -- it's the offensive line. Arizona gave up seven sacks and 13 quarterback hits, but more importantly showed the offensive issues start on the line of scrimmage. When the Cardinals don’t build a pocket around Palmer to give him enough time, one of three things happen: He either has to run for his life, which coach Bruce Arians pointed out last week isn’t the QB's strong suit; he makes a poor decision that leads to an interception; or he makes a poor decision that leads to an incompletion.

That’s life for the Cardinals these days, at least until they can shore up the issues on the offensive line. When Palmer is given time, the offense is capable of moving the ball. But until the line gets better, the Cardinals will continue to struggle and, in turn, slide down the rankings.