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Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Power Rankings: No. 8 Arizona Cardinals

By Josh Weinfuss

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

Preseason: 26 | Last Week: 10 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

It’s one thing to be No. 10 in the ESPN.com Power Rankings, but it’s an entire new ballgame to be inside the top 10. There’s a sense of accomplishment, a here-we-are feeling -- even if the players don’t pay one bit of attention to any rankings. Arizona proved it could withstand an off day by its defense and recover from almost an epic collapse in the fourth quarter to win in overtime. It’s a sign of a good team and a trait those who are capable of making a deep run into January all have.

But here's the catch. As of this week, Arizona isn't in the playoff picture, a product of being in the NFL’s toughest division. Of the top 13 in this week's Power Rankings, just one doesn't own a top-six seed in either the NFC or AFC: the Arizona Cardinals. What’s worse? Two of the top three teams are sitting above them in the NFC West: No. 1 Seattle and No. 3 San Francisco. If Arizona was in the NFC East or North or any AFC division, its playoff chances would be much improved.