Cardinals climb into top 5 of latest TD Wire power rankings after win over Cowbwoys

Their three-game losing streak was snapped and their tumble down Touchdown Wire’s rankings also ended.

The Arizona Cardinals reestablished themselves as a threat in the NFC with their 25-22 win over the Dallas Cowboys on the road. It snapped a three-game losing streak and it appeared that their offense and defense both got right.

After dipping in Touchdown Wire’s power rankings over the last three weeks, they went back in the right direction entering Week 18.

Touchdown Wire’s Nick Wojton had the Cardinals moving up from No. 7 to No. 5 in his latest rankings.

Finally the disastrously run for Arizona is gone… at least for now. The Cardinals held off the Cowboys in a 25-22 matchup between NFC playoff teams. Cards QB Kyler Murray had a pair of TDs to WR Antonie Wesley and extended drives just enough to stay undefeated at Dallas in his lifetime.

The Kansas City Chiefs are the only AFC team ahead of them, while the only NFC squads ahead of them are the Green Bay Packers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Rams.

With a win in Week 18 over the 25th-ranked Seattle Seahawks and a win by the 13th-ranked San Francisco 49ers over the third-ranked Rams, and the Cardinals will have a division title.

[listicle id=463690]

Listen to the latest from Cards Wire’s Jess Root on his podcast, Rise Up, See Red. Subscribe on Apple podcasts or Spotify.

Latest show:

Previous shows:

and

Great Eight: The No. 1 boxer in each of the original eight divisions

Great Eight: The No. 1 boxer in each of the original eight divisions.

Who are the best boxers in each of the original eight weight classes? Check out Boxing Junkie’s new “Great Eight” feature.

***

The proliferation of titles makes it difficult for all but the most astute fans to determine the cream of the boxing crop.

That’s why Boxing Junkie came up with its “Great Eight” feature, which names the best fighter in each of the original eight weight classes –heavyweight, light heavyweight, middleweight, welterweight, lightweight, featherweight, bantamweight and flyweight.

Heavyweight includes cruiserweight (and the WBC’s bridgerweight), light heavyweight includes super middleweight and so on.

It was easy to make our selection in some divisions. For example, heavyweight, which will continue to be ruled by Tyson Fury until someone takes him down.

Other weight classes took more thought.

Here are our final rankings of 2021.

 

HEAVYWEIGHT – Tyson Fury (31-0-1, 22 KOs): Who else?

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT – Canelo Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs): The Mexican is by far the most accomplished among 168- and 175-pounders.

MIDDLEWEIGHT – Gennadiy Golovkin (41-1-1, 36 KOs): Triple-G is still the highest-ranked 154- or 160-pounder on our pound-for-pound list. Jermall Charlo, Demetrius Andrade, Jermell Charlo and Brian Castano lurk.

WELTERWEIGHT – Terence Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs): Crawford edges out Errol Spence Jr. Will they settle it in the ring?

LIGHTWEIGHT – George Kambosos (20-0, 10 KOs): The Aussie earned it with his stunning upset of former 135-pound king Teofimo Lopez.

FEATHERWEIGHT – Gary Russell Jr. (31-1, 18 KOs): Talented Stephen Fulton is closing in on the quick-handed veteran.

BANTAMWEIGHT – Naoya Inoue (22-0, 19 KOs): The Japanese star might be the best of any weight.

FLYWEIGHT – Julio Cesar Martinez (18-1, 14 KOs): The Mexican is hot little fighter.

 

Great Eight: The No. 1 boxer in each of the original eight divisions

Great Eight: The No. 1 boxer in each of the original eight divisions.

Who are the best boxers in each of the original eight weight classes? Check out Boxing Junkie’s new “Great Eight” feature.

***

The proliferation of titles makes it difficult for all but the most astute fans to determine the cream of the boxing crop.

That’s why Boxing Junkie came up with its “Great Eight” feature, which names the best fighter in each of the original eight weight classes –heavyweight, light heavyweight, middleweight, welterweight, lightweight, featherweight, bantamweight and flyweight.

Heavyweight includes cruiserweight (and the WBC’s bridgerweight), light heavyweight includes super middleweight and so on.

It was easy to make our selection in some divisions. For example, heavyweight, which will continue to be ruled by Tyson Fury until someone takes him down.

Other weight classes took more thought.

Here are our final rankings of 2021.

 

HEAVYWEIGHT – Tyson Fury (31-0-1, 22 KOs): Who else?

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT – Canelo Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs): The Mexican is by far the most accomplished among 168- and 175-pounders.

MIDDLEWEIGHT – Gennadiy Golovkin (41-1-1, 36 KOs): Triple-G is still the highest-ranked 154- or 160-pounder on our pound-for-pound list. Jermall Charlo, Demetrius Andrade, Jermell Charlo and Brian Castano lurk.

WELTERWEIGHT – Terence Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs): Crawford edges out Errol Spence Jr. Will they settle it in the ring?

LIGHTWEIGHT – George Kambosos (20-0, 10 KOs): The Aussie earned it with his stunning upset of former 135-pound king Teofimo Lopez.

FEATHERWEIGHT – Gary Russell Jr. (31-1, 18 KOs): Talented Stephen Fulton is closing in on the quick-handed veteran.

BANTAMWEIGHT – Naoya Inoue (22-0, 19 KOs): The Japanese star might be the best of any weight.

FLYWEIGHT – Julio Cesar Martinez (18-1, 14 KOs): The Mexican is hot little fighter.

 

Cardinals fall behind Colts in new TD Wire power rankings

The Cardinals fall to No. 7 in these new power rankings.

The Arizona Cardinals clinched a playoff spot in Week 16 thanks to losses by the San Francisco 49ers and Minnesota Vikings, but they themselves lost their third straight game, a 22-16 defeat to the Indianapolis Colts.

Not only did the Colts beat them in the game on Christmas night, in Touchdown Wire’s new power rankings from Nick Wojton, they also moved ahead of the Cardinals.

The Cardinals fell from No. 5 to No. 7, while the Colts went from No. 8 to No. 6.

It wasn’t quite a loss to the Lions like last week, but the Cardinals are now reeling following back-to-back losses. The Colts topped them 22-16. Arizona let some ugly plays get in the way like missed kicks and safeties vs. Indy.

It isn’t just back-to-back losses. They have lost three in a row and, what looks worse, is that they are 0-5 in games where they could clinch a playoff spot with a win over the last two seasons. They appear to be fading late in the season like last year.

They are dealing with injuries and with positive tests for COVID-19. They did not have their best offensive lineman, center Rodney Hudson, the last two games because of COVID protocols and their kicking issues were mainly because of having to use a different holder because punter Andy Lee landed on the COVID list three days before the game.

If they make those kicks, they beat the Colts.

They have two games remaining to get things right and potentially still win the NFC West. However, they look like a team that is a little lost right now.

[listicle id=463401]

Listen to the latest from Cards Wire’s Jess Root on his podcast, Rise Up, See Red. Subscribe on Apple podcasts or Spotify.

Latest show:

Previous shows:

and

Cardinals fall in new power rankings entering Week 16

The Cardinals are falling farther down in USA TODAY’s power rankings as they fade late in the season.

The NFL regular season is nearing its end. Only three weeks remain and we are beginning to get an idea of how teams will close the season. For the Arizona Cardinals, things have not gone well. They have lost two in a row and have gone 3-4 in their last seven games after starting 7-0.

As a result, in the latest USA TODAY power rankings from Nate Davis, they have fallen a pair of spots again. They are now No. 8.

They’re 1-2 since the return of QB Kyler Murray, who’s got three TDs, three INTs and an 82.4 passer rating in that stretch. Kliff Kingsbury’s teams tend to be a horror show after Halloween, and Arizona has a scary matchup with Indianapolis on Christmas.

This end-of-season-fading narrative won’t go away unless the Cardinals turn it around. They are 0-4 over the last two seasons in games in which they could clinch a playoff spot with a win.

They went from 5-2 to 8-8 last season and missing the playoffs. Kingsbury’s teams at Texas Tech tended to fade late in the season.

The only way to change that narrative is to start with a win this weekend.

The Colts are a tough matchup. They play physical, disciplined defense and have the best running back in the game.

But of the Cardinals come out and score points, get a couple of stops and force Carson Wentz to have to consistently make plays, there is the potential for mistakes. All six of Wentz’ interceptions have come against expected playoff teams — the Rams, Titans, Buccaneers and Patriots.

It is time for the Cardinals to prove they have the toughness to work through the injuries they have sustained. If they fade, the notion they are frauds will linger unless they make a run in the playoffs.

But they have to get there first.

[listicle id=463218]

Listen to the latest from Cards Wire’s Jess Root on his podcast, Rise Up, See Red. Subscribe on Apple podcasts or Spotify.

Latest show:

Previous shows:

and

Pound for pound: Nonito Donaire has to be on the list

Pound for pound: Nonito Donaire has to be on Boxing Junkie’s list after another sensational knockout.

Nonito Donaire, 39, has demonstrated repeatedly that he won’t succumb to age.

“The Filipino Flash” gave 118-pound titleholder Naoya Inoue all kinds of trouble after some had written him off before stopping Nordine Oubaali in four rounds to win a major belt and then doing the exact same against Reymart Gaballo in his first defense last Saturday.

It should be noted that both Oubaali and Gaballo were unbeaten going into their fights with the future Hall of Famer.

Of course, Donaire (42-6, 28 KOs) deserves any accolade that comes his way. That includes a place on pound-for-pound lists years after he fell off of them, including Boxing Junkie’s.

Donaire enters our list as an Honorable Mention, pushing Thai veteran Srisaket Sor Rungvisai out in the process.

Donaire has set his sights on become undisputed bantamweight champion, which means he could face Inoue again. A victory over the Japanese star, who is No. 3 here, or possibly fellow titleholder John Riel Casimero would catapult Donaire much higher on the list.

And Sor Rungvisai has been in talks to face Carlos Cuadras as part of a junior bantamweight tournament also involving Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman Gonalez.

If Sor Rungvisai is the last man standing in that competition, he too would climb back onto the pound-for-pound ladder.

Here’s how the list looks:

BOXING JUNKIE
POUND-FOR-POUND

  1. Terence Crawford – No fight scheduled.
  2. Canelo Alvarez– Announced that he plans to challenge WBC cruiserweight titleholder Ilunga Makabu (if Makabu beats Thabiso Mchunu on Jan. 29) but no date or site is set.
  3. Naoya Inoue – No fight scheduled.
  4. Oleksandr Usyk – Expected to fight Anthony Joshua a second time in the spring but date or site is set.
  5. Errol Spence Jr. – No fight scheduled.
  6. Tyson Fury– The WBC has ordered Fury to defend his title against Dillian Whyte but no deal is in place.
  7. Vasiliy Lomachenko – No fight scheduled.
  8. Juan Francisco Estrada – In talks to defend his WBA and WBA junior bantamweight titles in what would be a third fight against Roman Gonzalez but no date or site is set.
  9. Gennadiy Golovkin – Scheduled to fight Ryota Murata in a middleweight title-unification fight on Dec. 29 in Japan.
  10. Jermell Charlo – Expected to face Brian Castano a second time on Feb. 26 but the deal hasn’t been finalized.
  11. Josh Taylor – Scheduled to defend his undisputed junior welterweight championship against mandatory challenger Jack Catterall on Feb. 26 in Glasgow, Scotland.
  12. Artur Beterbiev – Scheduled to defend his light heavyweight titles against Marcus Browne on Friday (Dec. 17) in Montreal.
  13. Gervonta Davis – No fight scheduled.
  14. Jermall Charlo – No fight scheduled.
  15. Kazuto Ioka  Scheduled to face Jerwin Ancajas in a junior bantamweight title-unification bout on Dec. 31 in Tokyo.

Honorable mention (alphabetical order): Mairis Briedis (no fight scheduled); Nonito Donaire (no fight scheduled); George Kambosos (no fight scheduled); Teofimo Lopez (no fight scheduled); and Yordenis Ugas (expected to defend his welterweight title against Eimantas Stanionis in the spring but no date or site is set).

[lawrence-related id=26855]

Pound for pound: Nonito Donaire has to be on the list

Pound for pound: Nonito Donaire has to be on Boxing Junkie’s list after another sensational knockout.

Nonito Donaire, 39, has demonstrated repeatedly that he won’t succumb to age.

“The Filipino Flash” gave 118-pound titleholder Naoya Inoue all kinds of trouble after some had written him off before stopping Nordine Oubaali in four rounds to win a major belt and then doing the exact same against Reymart Gaballo in his first defense last Saturday.

It should be noted that both Oubaali and Gaballo were unbeaten going into their fights with the future Hall of Famer.

Of course, Donaire (42-6, 28 KOs) deserves any accolade that comes his way. That includes a place on pound-for-pound lists years after he fell off of them, including Boxing Junkie’s.

Donaire enters our list as an Honorable Mention, pushing Thai veteran Srisaket Sor Rungvisai out in the process.

Donaire has set his sights on become undisputed bantamweight champion, which means he could face Inoue again. A victory over the Japanese star, who is No. 3 here, or possibly fellow titleholder John Riel Casimero would catapult Donaire much higher on the list.

And Sor Rungvisai has been in talks to face Carlos Cuadras as part of a junior bantamweight tournament also involving Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman Gonalez.

If Sor Rungvisai is the last man standing in that competition, he too would climb back onto the pound-for-pound ladder.

Here’s how the list looks:

BOXING JUNKIE
POUND-FOR-POUND

  1. Terence Crawford – No fight scheduled.
  2. Canelo Alvarez– Announced that he plans to challenge WBC cruiserweight titleholder Ilunga Makabu (if Makabu beats Thabiso Mchunu on Jan. 29) but no date or site is set.
  3. Naoya Inoue – No fight scheduled.
  4. Oleksandr Usyk – Expected to fight Anthony Joshua a second time in the spring but date or site is set.
  5. Errol Spence Jr. – No fight scheduled.
  6. Tyson Fury– The WBC has ordered Fury to defend his title against Dillian Whyte but no deal is in place.
  7. Vasiliy Lomachenko – No fight scheduled.
  8. Juan Francisco Estrada – In talks to defend his WBA and WBA junior bantamweight titles in what would be a third fight against Roman Gonzalez but no date or site is set.
  9. Gennadiy Golovkin – Scheduled to fight Ryota Murata in a middleweight title-unification fight on Dec. 29 in Japan.
  10. Jermell Charlo – Expected to face Brian Castano a second time on Feb. 26 but the deal hasn’t been finalized.
  11. Josh Taylor – Scheduled to defend his undisputed junior welterweight championship against mandatory challenger Jack Catterall on Feb. 26 in Glasgow, Scotland.
  12. Artur Beterbiev – Scheduled to defend his light heavyweight titles against Marcus Browne on Friday (Dec. 17) in Montreal.
  13. Gervonta Davis – No fight scheduled.
  14. Jermall Charlo – No fight scheduled.
  15. Kazuto Ioka  Scheduled to face Jerwin Ancajas in a junior bantamweight title-unification bout on Dec. 31 in Tokyo.

Honorable mention (alphabetical order): Mairis Briedis (no fight scheduled); Nonito Donaire (no fight scheduled); George Kambosos (no fight scheduled); Teofimo Lopez (no fight scheduled); and Yordenis Ugas (expected to defend his welterweight title against Eimantas Stanionis in the spring but no date or site is set).

[lawrence-related id=26855]

Cardinals remain No. 3 in USA TODAY power rankings despite 7-0 road record

USA TODAY still has the Packers the Buccaneers ranked ahead of the Cardinals in Week 14.

The Arizona Cardinals, sitting at 10-2, have the best record in the NFL and are the No. 1 seed in the NFC. They previously have been the No. 1 team in Nate Davis’ power rankings for USA TODAY. However, they fell two spots when they were on their bye week.

They returned in Week 13 to pick up their seventh road win of the season, a 33-22 victory over the Chicago Bears.

The Green Bay Packers, who were the new No. 1 team last week, was on their bye in Week 13. So the Cardinals, with another impressive win, naturally moved back up to the top spot.

No, they did not.

In Davis’s new USA TODAY power rankings, they remained the No. 3 team.

Arizona was a combined 5-11 in the second half of its first two seasons under coach Kliff Kingsbury. The Cards are 2-1 since Week 9 this year.

The Cardinals continue to be the most consistent team on both sides of the ball. They do, though, have a tougher schedule than the Packers. The Cardinals face the Rams, Colts and Cowboys — all likely playoff teams — in their final five games.

That said, with Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins having returned from injury, it seems odd that the best team in the NFL would be ranked behind two other teams.

[listicle id=462553]

Listen to the latest from Cards Wire’s Jess Root on his podcast, Rise Up, See Red. Subscribe on Apple podcasts or Spotify.

Latest show:

Previous shows:

and

Cardinals remain No. 1 in latest TD Wire power rankings

The Cardinals maintain their No. 1 spot in these new power rankings.

The Arizona Cardinals won their 10th game of the year in Chicago on Sunday, picking up a 33-22 win over the Bears. They remain atop the NFC West and also the No. 1 in the NFC.

It is no surprise that, in the latest NFL power rankings from Touchdown Wire’s Nick Wojton, they maintain their status as No. 1.

QB Kyler Murray looks more than back. In his return from injury, Murray had four total touchdowns… but that wasn’t the only four for the Cards. Arizona’s defense came to play as well, notching four interceptions against the Bears in a 33-22 final. This Cardinals team looks for real.

Murray and receiver DeAndre Hopkins both returned from a three-game absence and the team surpassed 30 points again despite only attempting 15 passes.

The Cardinals are now 7-0 and have won every game by 10 or more points. They have scored over 30 points in six of them.

Their defense is great. They can clinch a playoff spot this weekend and, with a win over the Los Angeles Rams on Monday, they can almost wrap up the NFC West.

Keeping them No. 1 in the rankings just makes sense.

[listicle id=462553]

Listen to the latest from Cards Wire’s Jess Root on his podcast, Rise Up, See Red. Subscribe on Apple podcasts or Spotify.

Latest show:

Previous shows:

and

Cardinals slip 2 spots in USA TODAY power rankings after bye week

The Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers both moved ahead of the Cardinals in the latest USA TODAY power rankings.

The Arizona Cardinals did not have a game in Week 12 as they had their bye. However, they increased their lead in the NFC West and maintained their status as the No. 1 team in the NFC playoff race.

However, they managed to fall in the latest power rankings from USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis.

The Green Bay Packers moved up to No. 1 with a 36-28 win over the Los Angeles Rams and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with their 38-31 win over the Indianapolis Colts, moved up to No. 2, dropping the Cardinals to third overall.

 Weird to drop the NFC leaders and their league-best 9-2 record after a bye week? Maybe. But it’s still not clear if QB Kyler Murray and WR DeAndre Hopkins are ready to return, nor is it clear if coach Kliff Kingsbury is interested in the vacant Oklahoma job or not. Potential distraction for a team that’s avoided them to this point.

Murray and Hopkins hopefully return this week, but even with Colt McCoy at quarterback, the Cardinals have proven to be just fine. They should beat a 4-7 Chicago Bears team either way.

The Bucs returned to form and the Packers looked dominant against the Rams. It will be a dogfight down the stretch for the No. 1 seed.

[listicle id=462355]

Listen to the latest from Cards Wire’s Jess Root on his podcast, Rise Up, See Red. Subscribe on Apple podcasts or Spotify.

Latest show:

Previous shows:

and