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Cardinals held 10th best special teams unit in the NFL

The Arizona Cardinals were better than average when it came to special teams play.

USA TODAY Sports

Even with all of the rule changes and safety regulations, one of the most underrated aspects to an NFL game is the special teams. Having a good kicker to put points on the board or a kick returner that can put you into scoring position is invaluable.

That's why Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News compiled a list ranking each and every team according to how well their special teams unit played. The Cardinals finished better than average, coming in at tenth.

Rk.

Team

Points

1. Minnesota- 253.5

2. Cincinnati- 276

3. Baltimore- 277

4. Miami- 296

5. Seattle- 302

6. San Diego- 305.5

7. NY Giants- 310.5

8. Buffalo- 319

9. Chicago- 320

10. Arizona- 335

11. Denver- 335.5

12. Green Bay- 337

13. New England- 338.5

14. Cleveland- 341

15. San Francisco- 344.5

16. Tennessee- 358.5

17. Cowboys- 360

18. Atlanta- 362

19. NY Jets- 373

20. New Orleans- 382

21. Tampa Bay- 396

22. Pittsburgh- 396.5

23. Kansas City- 399

24. Houston- 402

25. St. Louis- 412.5

26. Jacksonville- 418

27. Indianapolis- 423

28. Philadelphia- 427.5

29. Oakland- 430.5

30. Detroit- 441.5

31. Washington- 457

32. Carolina- 486

To compile the rankings, Gosselin uses the following stats: Kickoff return, punt return, kickoff coverage, punt coverage, average starting field position after kickoff, opponent's average starting field position after kickoff, punting, net punting, inside-the-20 punts, opponent's punting, opponent's net punting, field goals, field goal percentage, opponent's field goal percentage, extra point percentage, points scored, points allowed, blocked kicks, blocked kicks allowed, takeaways, giveaways and penalties.

Dave Zastudil, if you remember, broke the record for punts inside the 20 yard line, as he had 46. That helped the Cardinals skyrocket up the list, but the fact that the Cardinals got that record probably isn't a good thing given how many times they had to punt to get it.

Without all of those punts (assuming it was a more average number) the Cardinals may not have been so high on the list.

With that, I am not so sure I like these rankings. The Broncos finished just half a point behind the Cardinals, but had more special teams touchdowns in one game behind Trindon Holliday than the Cardinals did all season long. I don't see how that makes too much sense.

What do you think of these rankings? Are they flawed or fairly accurate? What would you do to change them? Personally, I would put more weight on positive attributes such as special teams touchdowns than something like a field goal, which could have been a failed touchdown drive.

Weigh in with your opinion in the comments below.

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