NFC West Power Rankings: Week Three

5 of 5

1 – Arizona Cardinals, 3-0 (last week: 1)

Sep 27, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel (28) returns an interception 21 yards for a touchdown during the first half against the San Francisco 49ers at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

While the other three teams in the division have looked like bottom dwellers so far, the Cardinals look like world beaters. They welcomed the 49ers to University of Phoenix Stadium, and then gave them a swift kick in the rump to show them out.

The defense still looks as good as the one that got them into the playoffs last year despite working with a third-string quarterback on offense. They picked off 49ers’ QB Colin Kaepernick twice in the first quarter, and took them both back for touchdowns. At that point, they could have put in the third-string quarterback, as they allowed one touchdown to the 49ers, when Kaepernick ran in from 12 yards. It was still a three-score game at that point.

Carson Palmer was at it again, throwing for 311 yards and a pair of scores. Palmer is tied for second in the league with nine touchdown tosses through three games. His favorite target was again Larry Fitzgerald, who caught nine balls for 134 yards and two touchdowns. The 32-year-old Fitzgerald looks like a much younger version of himself, as he has caught 23 passes for 333 yards, along with a league-leading five scores.

The run game was also effective, as Chris Johnson seems to be getting into a nice rhythm with the Cardinals’ offense. He carried the ball 22 times and gained 110 yards (a solid five yard average), while scoring twice. In total, the Cardinals nearly out-gained the 49ers three yards to one (446 to 156).

The Cardinals have the highest-ranked scoring offense in the NFL at 42 points per contest. They have allowed the third-fewest points per game so far, at just over 16. That’s a recipe for success, and a recipe to keep them at number one on this list.

Next: NFC West Power Rankings: Week Two