Cards return to top spot in AP Pro32 poll; Titans at No. 2

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Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury, second from left, and defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, foreground right, gesture from the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

NEW YORK (AP) — Despite being short-handed, the Arizona Cardinals and Tennessee Titans both found success on the road in California in Week 9.

And both teams also found a way to the top of the latest AP Pro32 poll.

The Cardinals, who were without quarterback Kyler Murray and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, returned to the No. 1 spot after topping the San Francisco 49ers 31-17.

The Cardinals moved up two spots as they received 11 of the 12 first-place votes for 383 points in balloting Tuesday by media members who regularly cover the NFL.

“For a second straight year, Colt McCoy pulls off a road upset filling in for his team’s injured starter,” Newsday’s Bob Glauber said.

“He starred in place of Kyler Murray at the 49ers a year after leading the Giants to a shocker over Seattle in Daniel Jones’ absence. Arizona remains in the driver’s seat in the NFC West after the Rams’ flop against Tennessee.”

The Titans, who will be without star running back Derrick Henry for several weeks because of a broken right foot, climbed five spots to No. 2. The Titans are coming off a 28-16 win at the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday night. The loss knocked the Rams, last week’s top team, down three spots to No. 4.

“Mike Vrabel is getting some well-deserved run for Coach of the Year honors by leading his Titans to consecutive wins over the Bills, Chiefs, Colts and Rams, finishing off that grand slam without Derrick Henry,” Glauber said.

Despite coming off a bye, the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers moved up two spots to No. 3. The Buccaneers, who face Washington this week, received the remaining first-place vote.

“Tampa Bay is 14-18 all time coming off byes. That’s pedestrian … but that’s not the bye record that matters for the 2021 Bucs,” said Rick Gosselin of the Talk of Fame Network. “Give QB Tom Brady an extra week of rest and he’s golden. Brady personally is 15-4 in his career coming off byes. He has won each of the last four seasons coming off byes.”

The Green Bay Packers, who were without quarterback Aaron Rodgers for Sunday’s loss at Kansas City after the reigning MVP tested positive for COVID-19, dropped three spots to No. 5.

The Baltimore Ravens, who used another clutch Justin Tucker field goal to top the Minnesota Vikings in overtime, moved up four spots to No. 6. The Ravens will open Week 10 when they head to Miami to take on the Dolphins on Thursday night.

Two teams coming off unexpected losses are tied at No. 7. The Dallas Cowboys, who were blown out at home by Denver, fell three places, and the Buffalo Bills lost 9-6 at Jacksonville to the lowly Jaguars and dropped one place.

The Los Angeles Chargers gained four spots to No. 9 after edging the Philadelphia Eagles 27-24.

And the Pittsburgh Steelers moved up two spots to round out the top 10 after holding off the Chicago Bears 29-27 on Monday night.

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