The least-hyped quarterback-coach combination inside in the NFL’s top division is the most dangerous of the four.
Are the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll about to feud again? Are the Rams’ Matthew Stafford and Sean McVay a match made in heaven? Jimmy Garoppolo’s injury means the beginning of the 49ers with Trey Lance and Kyle Shanahan is here. All fun storylines, but it’s time to give Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury their due.
The Cardinals are averaging an NFL-best 35 points per game because their offense features stars (Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins), veterans with something left in the tank (A.J. Green and James Connor) and explosive young players (Rondale Moore, Chase Edmonds and Christian Kirk).
Here are The Post’s power rankings after the Cardinals steamrolled the Rams, 37-20, in a battle of unbeatens:
The Cardinals’ statement victory wasn’t even as close as the final score looks because the Rams added a touchdown with 74 seconds remaining. Murray is the early-season MVP front-runner because he is a better passer than most dual-threat quarterbacks who run as well as he does.
2. Los Angeles Rams, 3-1 (1)
Not too big of a penalty assigned because power rankings are cumulative and that Rams’ win two weeks ago against the Buccaneers still carries weight. The biggest red flag coming out of the loss to the Cardinals is the Aaron Donald-led rushing defense was gouged for 216 yards.
3, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 3-1 (2)
Tom Brady didn’t throw a touchdown or an interception but he orchestrated the game-winning fourth-quarter comeback against Bill Belichick’s defense, so he now has beaten all 32 teams in his career. With the pressure of Brady’s return to New England finally over, the injury-shortened Buccaneers should start rolling.
4. Green Bay Packers, 3-1 (4)
Aaron Rodgers tied Dan Marino for No. 6 on the career passing touchdowns list (420). The flick-of-the-wrist toss to Randall Cobb – with the Steelers defense in a no-win run/pass situation – was a perfect depiction of how easy Rodgers makes the game look. The Week 1 loss to the Saints was nothing more than a wake-up call.
5. Buffalo Bills, 3-1 (8)
One sign of a great team is a killer instinct against an overmatched opponent: The Bills pounded the Texans (40-0) only two weeks after pounding the Dolphins (35-0). The Week 1 loss to the Steelers gets more puzzling by the week, but the Bills’ biggest regular-season game, against the Chiefs, is up next.
6. Cleveland Browns, 3-1 (3)
Time to penalize the Browns for flirting with disaster during a soft three-week schedule. Wins are wins, but an uninspiring 14-7 survival against the Vikings was a reminder that this Super Bowl contender is too one-dimensional on offense right now. Baker Mayfield has thrown for two touchdowns on 113 passes.
7. Los Angeles Chargers, 3-1 (9)
Austin Ekeler looked like an All-Pro dual-threat back on “Monday Night Football.” More impressively, the trick-play-happy Chargers handled both adversity (a home game in front of a hostile crowd dominated by Raiders fans) and prosperity (following up an upset of the Chiefs with a second straight big division win).
8. Las Vegas Raiders, 3-1 (7)
Falling behind 21-0 to the Chargers was a bad idea. It left margin for error in the comeback, so a missed 52-yard field goal in the fourth quarter was the nail. Any one of six teams in the AFC could claim to be the best right now. Early wins against the Dolphins and Steelers don’t look so hot right now.
9. Baltimore Ravens, 3-1 (11)
John Harbaugh’s decision to call a final play just to extend a streak of 100-yard rushing games to 43 straight was lame. But the Ravens beating the undefeated Broncos in Denver was not. The defense needed a performance like they put forth – even if it was mostly against Drew Lock.
10. Kansas City Chiefs, 2-2 (15)
The Chiefs looked like the Chiefs again, with Patrick Mahomes throwing three of his five touchdown passes against the Eagles to the uncoverable Tyreek Hill. Remember all the Septembers when the Patriots were written off after a few losses but later still made it to the Super Bowl? Look here.
11. Dallas Cowboys
12. Seattle Seahawks, 2-2 (19)
13. San Francisco 49ers, 2-2 (5)
14. Carolina Panthers, 3-1 (12)
15. Cincinnati Bengals, 3-1 (17)
16. Denver Broncos, 3-1 (16)
17. Tennessee Titans, 2-2 (10)
18. Washington Football Team, 2-2 (24)
19. New Orleans Saints, 2-2 (13)
20. Chicago Bears, 2-2 (25)
21. Minnesota Vikings, 1-3 (18)
22. New England Patriots, 1-3 (23)
23. Philadelphia Eagles, 1-3 (20)
24. Indianapolis Colts, 1-3 (26)
25. Pittsburgh Steelers, 1-3 (21)
26. Miami Dolphins, 1-3 (22)
27. Atlanta Falcons, 1-3 (27)
The Giants are coming off their most inspiring win since 2017 – an 11-point fourth-quarter comeback to beat the Saints in overtime. Daniel Jones threw for a career-high 402 yards, Saquon Barkley looked like himself again after knee surgery and Kenny Golladay played like a No. 1 receiver. Big concerns about the defense, however.
The lowest-scoring team in the NFL after three weeks came to life against the Titans because Zach Wilson showed great touch on his deep passes in the second half and overtime. Wilson’s improvisational ability showed up, too. But let’s not sleep on a defense that sacked Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill seven times. Seven!