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The Cards and playing in primetime

Posted by Darren Urban on October 14, 2016 – 8:43 am

The Cardinals are in the midst of a three-game stretch of primetime games — “Thursday Night Football” in San Francisco, “Monday Night Football” against the Jets early next week, and then a home “Sunday Night Football” game against the Seahawks. These games under the lights have been fairly good for the Cards, and it’s been suggested that this is a franchise that flourishes in such matchups.

To be sure, Bruce Arians has done a nice job in his tenure. The Cardinals are 8-3 in primetime games since Arians arrived in 2013, and that’s including the Seattle “SNF” loss in late 2014 when injuries — particularly at quarterback — undercut that matchup before it even arrived.

But the Cardinals have also been a good team under Arians, and, as with most situation, the Cardinals do well under the lights when the team is good — and struggle when the team isn’t as good.

Starting with the University of Phoenix Stadium era — the 2006 season — the Cards have played a total of eight “Monday Night Football” games and 12 games on either Sunday or Thursday night. Their overall record? 10-10. Last year’s excellent team went 5-0 in such games, just another ancillary highlight from a fantastic season. It doesn’t mean there weren’t other memorable nights, win or lose — like the Monday Night Meltdown, how Derek Anderson takes certain things serious, finding a way to beat the ageless Brett Favre or how one team is always 8-8 — but these days, it’s always about the result and how the Cardinals can improve their playoff chances.

Certainly, these next two games, even if they were played 9 a.m. on a Friday, will be crucial. The Cardinals are hoping their latest primetime run of six wins of their last seven carries over.

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Cardinals getting better in primetime

Posted by Darren Urban on November 18, 2015 – 12:09 pm

The Cardinals will play their second straight game on “Sunday Night Football” this weekend and have their third primetime appearance in their last four games. They have at least one more primetime game coming this season when they host Minnesota Dec. 10 on “Thursday Night Football.” Thus far, they are 2-0 in those headliner games.

The primetime games have become much more prevalent for the Cardinals since 2006, when University of Phoenix Stadium opened (the Bengals game, by the way, is the 100th game at UoP, including preseason and postseason. Cards have sold out each one.) The willingness to try and put more teams on those games — including the choice to give every team at least one Thursday game — helps, as does the fact the Cards have been more competitive.

Before the last two games, there were some concerned about the Cardinals on primetime. “They don’t do very well” was the worry. True or false? True. At least in the past. This team is proving different.

The Cardinals have played in 17 regular-season primetime games since 2006. Their record? It’s only 7-10, and that’s with the two wins this season. However, they have under Arians won 4 of 6. (Another note: 10 of those primetime games have been against NFC West opponents, including a “Monday Night Football” stretch of five in a row.)

On the other hand, the Bengals are 4-8 in primetime games with Andy Dalton as starting quarterback, and 8-16 in primetime games under coach Marvin Lewis. Most of those, like the Cardinals, were different teams in different years and don’t have much to do with this week. Take it for what it’s worth.

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CBS gets into “Thursday Night Football”

Posted by Darren Urban on February 5, 2014 – 10:56 am

The NFL had been shopping part of its “Thursday Night Football” package — perhaps you have heard how valuable the NFL is on TV — and now comes the news CBS was the network that has become the TNF partner. CBS will televise eight Thursday games in the first part of the NFL season, games that will also be simulcast on the NFL Network. The NFL Network will then take the final six Thursday games, plus a pair of late-season Saturday games. But all 16 games will be produced by CBS, and every Thursday game will be broadcast with the top announcing team for CBS, Jim Nantz and Phil Simms. The pregame, halftime and postgame analysis will be done with a mix of NFL Network and CBS Sports announcers.

The package is for the 2014 only, although the NFL has an option to renew for the 2015 season.

Teams were already playing on Thursday nights, so this doesn’t impact the product on the field compared to the last couple of years. As usual, every team will end up playing one of the dates.

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