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Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Power Rankings: No. 9 Arizona Cardinals

By Josh Weinfuss

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

Preseason: 26 | Last Week: 8 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

The Arizona Cardinals go into maybe the most hostile environment in the NFL, dominate on defense, struggle on offense, but still hand Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson his first home loss of his career, and they drop in the ESPN.com Power Rankings? That just shows how tough the NFL is this season. For the first time this year, Arizona won and dropped in the rankings. Albeit it one spot, it's still a fall after the franchise's biggest win in about four years. In fact, the Seahawks stayed No. 1 after a loss ... and the Cardinals fell after a win. Make sense? Nope.

Two teams Arizona beat -- Indianapolis and Carolina -- are ranked above it, as are two teams who the Cards lost to, the Saints and 49ers. They'll be out to exact revenge on the Niners on Sunday, with their playoff hopes on the line. Arizona needs to win or tie and have the Saints lose (or tie if Arizona wins), to get in the playoffs. The Cards are the only team in the top 10 not in the playoffs yet, despite having one of the best defenses in the NFL.