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Arizona Cardinals defense now a Top-5 ranked unit

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Some defensive notes after Sunday's win over the Rams.

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

After allowing just 257 net yards of offense on Sunday, the Cardinals defense is now ranked 5th overall in the NFL. Three of the NFL's top five defenses now reside in the NFC West - Seattle (1), San Francisco (4) and Arizona (5).

NFL Leaders-Team Defense (Yds Allowed/Game)
nk Team YPG
1 Seattle 287.1
2 Carolina 296.2
3 Houston 302.2
4 San Francisco 308.0
5 Arizona 311.7

Arizona entered Week 8 with the NFL's 16th ranked defense, but after holding five of their last six opponents under 300 yards the Cardinals now enter Week 15 with the NFL's fifth ranked defensive unit.

    NFL Defensive Rankings By Week

    Week Ranking
    8 16th
    10 13th
    11 13th
    12 9th
    13 7th
    14 7th
    15 5th

    Dating back to Week 8, the Cardinals have posted a 5-1 record and feature the NFL's top-ranked defense. Below is a look at where the Cardinals rank in the NFL in that span:

    NFL Defensive Rankings Since Week 8

    Stat Rank
    Yards/Game 267.3 (1st)
    Points/Game 16.0 (4th)
    Touchdowns 11 (t-4th)
    Rush Yds/Game 70.0 (1st)
    Pass Yds/Game 197.3 (7th)
    Yds/Pass Att 5.44 (2nd)
    1st Downs 104 (t-4th)
    1st Down Rush 18 (1st)
    3rd Down Conv 32.2 (4th)

    The Cardinals have finished a season with a defense ranked in the top-5 once since the team relocated to Arizona in 1988. The Cards finished the 1994 season ranked 3rd overall. Dating back to 1970, the Cardinals have finished in the top-10 in total defense six times.

    After holding the Rams to 100 rushing yards on Sunday - 56 yards of which came on one play - the Cardinals run defense is ranked third in the NFL, allowing just 84.5 yards per game.

    NFL Leaders - Fewest Rushing Yards Allowed/Game

    Rnk Team YPG
    1 Carolina 79.4
    2 NY Jets 82.6
    3 Arizona 84.5
    4 Cleveland 98.0
    5 Cincinnati 98.2

    Sunday's game marked the sixth time this season that the Cardinals have allowed 15 points or fewer in a game. Only Carolina (8) has allowed 15 points or fewer in more games than Arizona in 2013.

    Games Allowing 15 Points or Fewer (2013)

    Gms Team W-L
    8 Carolina 7-1
    6 Arizona 6-0
    6 Seattle 6-0
    6 San Fran 5-1
    5 Kansas City 5-0


    The Cards defense recorded two INTs against the Rams, giving them 25 takeaways on the season. Only Tampa Bay (29), Kansas City (28), Seattle (28) and Carolina (26) have more takeaways than the Cardinals in 2013.

    Arizona's 17 INTs this season are tied for third-most in the NFL.

    LB John Abraham posted three sacks of Rams QB Kellen Clemens on Sunday, giving him 133.0 sacks for his career. Abraham passed legendary Hall of Fame LB Lawrence Taylor (132.5) and Leslie O'Neal (132.5) and moved into 9th place on the NFL's all-time sacks list.

    After recording three sacks on Sunday, Abraham now has 11.0 sacks in his last seven games - including eight sacks in his last five outings.

    With 11.0 sacks on the season, Abraham becomes the first Cardinals player since Bertrand Berry in 2004 to record double-digit sacks in a season. He is one of just nine players in franchise history to reach double-digit sacks in a season.

    Abraham now has 3.0 sacks in a game twice this season and 10 times in his career. In NFL history, only Lawrence Taylor (12) and Reggie White (12) had more games with at least 3.0 sacks in their career.

    Abraham becomes just the second player in franchise history with at least 3.0 sacks in multiple games in a season (2, Curtis Greer, 1983).

    Abraham is tied for sixth in the NFL and ranks third in the NFC in sacks this season. Among linebackers, Abraham ranks first in the NFC in sacks and is tied for second in the NFL behind only the Colts Robert Mathis (15.5).