NFC West Power Rankings: Week Nine

5 of 5

1 – Arizona Cardinals, 6-2 (Last week: 1)

Nov 1, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palme (3) gives his game hat to a fan following the game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Browns 34-20. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals entered their bye week leading the division by 1.5 games, and will come out of it ahead by two games. After a 3-0 start, the Cardinals dropped two of their next three, but entered the bye on a two-game win streak.

After being mostly known as a defensive team, the Cardinals have become one of the best offensive units in the NFL as well. They’re second in the NFL in 32.9 points game, third in converting third downs at 46 percent, and fourth in yards per game at 417.4. They’re also the third-least penalized team in the NFL.

Following a torn ACL in 2014 that forced him to miss the playoffs, quarterback Carson Palmer is enjoying a great bounce back season. His 20 touchdowns thrown are second in the NFL, his 110.2 passer rating is third, and his 2,386 yards passing is fifth.

Speaking of comebacks, running back Chris Johnson is making the most of his opportunity with the Cardinals. When Andre Ellington went down with an injury, Johnson stepped in and has not let go of his stranglehold on the starter’s job. He has gained 676 yards on the ground (third in the league), and averages 4.8 per carry (fourth in the NFL). His presence offers a more balanced attack than the Cardinals have had in a few years.

Defensively, the Cardinals are still an excellent club, as they allow just 19.1 points per game, seventh-best in the NFL. The 312.8 yards allowed per game is third in the league and 17 first downs allowed is second. They have the second-best point differential in the NFL, as they score 13.8 points more than they allow, behind only the New England Patriots.

Next: NFC West Power Rankings: Week Eight

With their bye week now behind them, the Cardinals travel to Seattle for a big divisional battle with the Seahawks, in what figures to be a strong defensive battle.