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Arizona Cardinals proving they have top 5 defense?

When a program rebuilds, it needs a litmus test every now and again.

The Arizona Cardinals beat the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1, but were the Seahawks and their rookie quarterback overrated? The New England Patriots? Now they have Super Bowl talent and a future Hall of Fame quarterback.

The Cardinals revealed in a 20-18 win that they just might be better than expected. The defense kept Tom Brady & Co. in check mostly with a four-man rush, and the offense didn't blow it.

"The guys up front, we challenged those guys to win the game for us," defensive coordinator Ray Horton told the Arizona Republic. "When you look at their team and their salaries and their structure, their superstars are outside guys. Our guys are inside. So we told them we needed another huge game from them. I almost didn't blitz at all."

The Cardinals' defensive effort allowed the offense not to overexert itself. Kevin Kolb is back in as the starter with John Skelton out with a low ankle sprain.

Kolb didn't have to outscore Brady. He threw a touchdown, ran for another and didn't throw a pick, and only put the ball in the air 27 times.

With a miniscule sample size, the Cardinals are now a top five defense in points allowed -- just 34 points in two weeks.

Maybe they're not as bad as everyone thought. Maybe.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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