The Cardinals know when they are playing their games and they know people will be watching. The 2014 schedule has been announced and it includes the prime-time games that the Cards have been pining for. Monday night to open the season at home? Bruce Arians couldn’t have drawn it up any better. And while the Dec. 11 Thursday night game in St. Louis is no picnic, at least the Cards are coming off a home game against Kansas City. Plus, it will give the Cards an extra few days before hosting Seattle in “Sunday Night Football” on Dec. 21.
There is little reason to completely analyze a schedule because, frankly, it can mean little when the games are played months from now. Still, there are takeaways to note (and here is a schedule you can print/download):
– Cool to open on Monday night in a home game. Last time the Cards opened on a Monday night, it was Ken Whisenhunt’s debut in 2007 in San Francisco. Could’ve been a win if Eric Green had just fallen on the ball.
– Strange, however, to open with a team you just closed the preseason with. My guess is that the starters might not even play in the preseason finale now, as opposed to their usual one series.
– Season closes with three straight division games. Given this era of the NFC Best, perhaps that’s only fitting.
– Bye week in Week 4. Early. Too early? Well, given that it is after what figures to be a rough-and-tumble 49ers game and gives the Cards two weeks to prep for Peyton Manning, maybe it’s just right.
– No more than two straight weeks either at home or on the road. Can’t complain there.
– It could be chilly in Seattle in late November. Maybe SF in late December too, although Santa Clara will be warmer than the ‘stick. But New York in September is perfect, Denver in early October … weather should not be a factor.
But now that the schedule is out, I guess it’s time for the draft. It’s always something, right?
Tags: 49ers, Eric Green, Ken Whisenhunt, Peyton Manning, schedule
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The Cardinals are second in the NFL in rushing defense heading into Week 12, allowing just 81.4 yards a game (The Jets are first, at 73.2.) But as the Cardinals head down the stretch with their final six games, that ranking will be tested and how the Cards hold up may go a long way in determining how real their playoff hopes will be.
Of the Cards’ final six opponents, all but one rank in the top half of the NFL rushing the ball and three are in the top six — including the top two rushing teams in the league, Philadelphia (150.6 yards a game) and Seattle (147.9). The others are San Francisco (sixth, 141.0), Indianapolis (15th, 112.9), Tennessee (16th, 112.3) and St. Louis (22nd, 99.4).
(How the Cardinals run the ball themselves will make a difference too — Arizona is 25th in the NFL at 85.6 yards a game — but that’s a topic for another post.)
Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles came into the season saying he wanted the Cardinals to stop the run first and his players have often echoed it. That wasn’t the case last season and it often bit the Cards. This year, only three times have the Cards given up more than 56 yards to the other team’s leading rusher. Of course, in all three instances, the Cardinals will play those teams again, with the Rams (Daryl Richardson, 63 yards), 49ers (Frank Gore, 101 yards) and Seahawks (Marshawn Lynch, 94 yards) still out there. Richardson is no longer the Rams go-to guy but Zac Stacy, although Stacy has looked good. No reason to dwell on what Gore and Lynch bring; they are among the best in the NFL and the Cards have seen that up close and personal too many times.
Next week against NFL leading rusher Shady McCoy and Chip Kelly’s new-look offense will be interesting as well.
There’s a reason it’s a football cliché that teams must first stop the run. The Cardinals need to live it as gospel.
Tags: 49ers, Colts, defense, Eagles, Rams, schedule, Seahawks, Titans, Todd Bowles
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The NFL announced today that three teams will host games in London during the 2014 season: Jacksonville, Oakland and Atlanta. Why does that matter? Because you never know if the Cardinals could get picked to be the visiting team to a London game.
The Cards don’t play Jacksonville next season. But they do travel to Oakland, and with an away game at the “matching” NFC South team wherever they finish, there is a chance the Cardinals could have a road game in Atlanta next season — making then two of the three London games possible. We are far away from knowing for sure, of course, but it’s an interesting tidbit to chew on.
So, as long as we are discussion the 2014 opponents — because why wouldn’t you five games into the previous season — here is the list of the Cardinals’ schedule-to-be:
Kansas City Chiefs
San Diego Chargers
NFC North “like” finisher (If Cardinals finish in second place in division, for instance, they play the second-place team from NFCN)
San Francisco 49ers
St. Louis Rams
New York Giants
NFC South “like” finisher
San Francisco 49ers
St. Louis Rams
Tags: Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs, Cowboys, Eagles, Falcons, Giants, London, opponents, Raiders, Redskins, schedule
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So here are some quick thoughts on the Cardinals’ schedule, for what they are worth. No one knows exactly what will happen between now and when the games will be played and so much can change. Nevertheless, this is what we do, so we press on …
– What smacks me in the face first is the back-to-back games against the 49ers — in San Francisco — and the Seahawks just four days later for their NFL Network game. That’s in October (13 and 17). Those teams aren’t easy with which to deal, and to have them so close together is tough. I guess, with Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson with similar games (I know Wilson doesn’t run as much as Kaepernick), the defense will be in the right frame of mind. Todd Bowles, are you ready?
– Opening in St. Louis isn’t a bad place to start. The Cards have had a ton of success there, winning seven straight before last year. These aren’t the 2009 Rams, but they aren’t the Niners and Seahawks either.
– Offenses with which the Cards must deal without suspended linebacker Daryl Washington: Rams, Lions, Saints, Buccaneers. All in all, not the worst thing.
– A bye at exactly the midway point of the season.
– The Bruce Arians-faces-his-former-Colts-team game comes Nov. 24. Will be very interesting to see where the Cards are at that point — we will be long past the storybook of the Colts season last year — and, for that matter, where the Colts stand.
– I didn’t think weather would be a big deal, but it could be chilly in Philly (Dec. 1) and Tennessee (Dec. 15). And perhaps Seattle (Dec. 22) for that matter.
– It did catch my eye that the preseason Dallas game is at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. I prefer that rather than night preseason games.
– A trip to Raymond James Stadium Sept. 29. Let’s see, the last time the Cards were there …
Tags: 49ers, Bruce Arians, Colin Kaepernick, Colts, Daryl Washington, Rams, Russell Wilson, schedule, Seahawks
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The NFL officially announced the regular-season schedule will be released Thursday, at 5 p.m. Arizona time. (We will have that info up immediately as the deadline hits). It’s always a strange day. There is no denying the schedule release is a huge story for NFL fans, even though all we are talking about is actual dates and times. Every team already knows who it is playing next season. That hasn’t been a secret. Whether the Cardinals host the Falcons in October or November probably doesn’t mean a ton. Sure, there are some weather-related situations to note for some teams — if you go to Green Bay for instance, you pay attention if that is in September or December. The Cards
don’t have any road trips like that do have to think about Philadelphia (although it’d probably be better to visit Jacksonville later in the season if possible.)
In the meantime, here is the refresher on 2013’s regular-season opponents:
Indianapolis, Houston, Carolina, Atlanta, Detroit, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis
Tennessee, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis
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With the Rams’ win against Tampa Bay today, the Cardinals are locked into last place in the NFC West for 2012 regardless of the result today or next week. It also solidifies their opponents for 2013, since the NFC North and NFC East already know who will be their fourth-place teams as well.
– San Francisco
– St. Louis
– New Orleans
– Tampa Bay
– St. Louis
– San Francisco
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Yes, yes, I know I am early. Way early. But as long as the info is out there — and while we still have a little bit before we get to training camp — here is a look at who the Cardinals’ opponents will be for the 2013 season.
– Indianapolis (Andrew Luck!)
– Carolina (Cam Newton!)
– Houston (Arian Foster.)
– Atlanta (Roddy White?)
– NFC North team that matches Cards’ spot in 2012 standings
– and of course, St. Louis, Seattle, San Francisco.
– New Orleans
– Tampa Bay
– NFC East team that matches Cards’ spot in 2012 standings
– and, of course, St. Louis, Seattle, San Francisco.
I was going to do a little analysis, but then I realized how foolish that was this far out.
Tags: 49ers, Andrew Luck, Arian Foster, Buccaneers, Cam Newton, Colts, Falcons, Jaguars, Panthers, Rams, Roddy White, Saints, schedule, Seahawks, Texans, Titans
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The afternoon football games will be a little later this season.
The NFL announced Thursday morning that all the second games on TV doubleheaders that were to start at 15 minutes past the hour will now start at 25 past the hour, to make sure the kickoffs of those games don’t come before the early games have ended.
From the NFL press release: “In researching the kickoff time shift, the NFL analyzed games from the 2009-11 seasons and found that 44 games required part of the audience to be switched to a mandatory doubleheader game kickoff. With a 4:25 PM ET kickoff time, that number that would have been reduced by 66 percent to only 15 games.”
For the Cardinals, that means the kickoff times of five games — three at home, two on the road — are impacted. (All times are Arizona.):
– Sept. 9, Seattle at Arizona, is now a 1:25 p.m. kickoff;
– Nov. 25, St. Louis at Arizona, now a 2:25 p.m. kickoff;
– Dec. 23, Chicago at Arizona, now a 2:25 p.m. kickoff;
– Dec. 9, Arizona at Seattle, now a 2:25 p.m. kickoff;
– Dec. 30, Arizona at San Francisco, now a 2:25 p.m. kickoff.
The games slated to start at 1:05 p.m. or 2:05 p.m. are not affected (and as always, the last seven weeks of the season are subject to flex scheduling, should the Cardinals play themselves into a race.)
Tags: schedule, television
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The Cards have set their preseason schedule, with the home finale against the Broncos the most notable, with it coming at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 30. The team was limited regarding the Denver game because, by rule, Wednesday was not at option since Denver plays the previous Sunday and a later kickoff was necessary to avoid conflicting with network TV coverage of the Republican National Convention’s final night and the nominee’s acceptance speech.
The full Cards’ preseason sked (all times Arizona):
- Sunday, Aug. 5 vs New Orleans Saints at 5 p.m. in the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio.
- Friday, Aug. 10 at Kansas City at 5 p.m.
- Friday, Aug. 17 home against Oakland at 7 p.m.
- Thursday, Aug. 23 at Tennessee at 5 p.m.
- Thursday, Aug. 30 home against Denver at 8 p.m.
The full regular-season schedule will be announced tomorrow (Tuesday) at 4 p.m. Arizona time.
Tags: preseason, schedule
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With the season over, the Cardinals will pick 13th in April’s draft. Their opponents for 2012 have also been set (although dates, of course, aren’t announced until April too):
Home games: Seattle, San Francisco, St. Louis, Detroit, Chicago, Buffalo, Miami, Philadelphia.
Away games: Seattle, San Francisco, St. Louis, Green Bay, Minnesota, New England, New York Jets, Atlanta.
Tags: draft, schedule
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