There’s been a handful of blog items about 2011 opponents, because the NFL just handed out its 2011 Record and Fact Book and the opponents for next year have already been figured. There has also been confusion, because it doesn’t seem to match up right with home and away opponents (just like this coming season, when everyone wanted to know, for instance, why the Cards are going to San Diego this season when the last time the teams met in the regular season that was also in San Diego).
Next year the Cardinals will host Dallas, the Giants, Cleveland and Pittsburgh while visiting Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore and Cincinnati (in addition to hosting an NFC South team and visiting an NFC North team they ultimately match up with in the 2010 standings). Those paying attention will realize that the last time the Cowboys, Giants, Browns and Steelers played the Cards in the regular season as part of the full divisional rotation, the Cards hosted each time in 2008 with Dallas and New York and in 2007 with Pittsburgh and Cleveland.
(Yes I know the Cards went to New York last year, but that was in a “match-up-with-the-previous-year” game rather than in a year where the Cards played the entire NFC East).
Similarly, the last time the Cards played the Eagles, Redskins, Ravens and Bengals, they were all road games — just like 2011.
The reason is because the NFL is starting over with its rotation as a block of eight seasons, just like it did from 2002 to 2009, to make sure every team plays every other team home and away at least once. It’s not connected with the recent block of schedules, which is why, for instance, the Cards go to Philly twice in a row. In the end, it will equal out.
Unless there are games missed in 2011 because of a work stoppage. Then it’ll get a little messed up I am guessing.
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