Arizona Cardinals will enter 2014 with one of league's (potentially) toughest schedules

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Of course, that is to be expected in the NFC West.

ESPN published a list of all the teams and ranked them according to their 2014 strength of schedule, based naturally on their opponents' win/loss record in 2013.

Where do the Arizona Cardinals rank? Their schedule ranks among the league's most difficult.

With a .547 opponent winning percentage, they have the league's eighth most difficult 16 games. It shouldn't be a surprise who the eight teams with the toughest schedules -- they are the eight teams that make up the NFC West and AFC West.

In 2013, The AFC West had three playoff teams and the NFC West almost did, as three teams had 10 or more wins. What's more is the fact that the two divisions play one another in 2014, so you have the perfect schedule strength storm.

Of course, we know Arizona has a tough schedule. Everyone in their division does. They have to play the Super Bowl champs twice, the 49ers twice and then a supposed upstart Rams team twice. They will travel to Denver.

Of course, their schedule is mitigated a bit by playing the NFC East, but you can't ever judge a schedule for next season before the draft or free agency. Heck, you can't even really do it once the preseason is done.

If you recall, the Cardinals were supposed to have a fierce schedule, but then the Texans and Falcons turned into dumpster fires and the Colts lost Reggie Wayne and suffered a very weak stretch.

The Cardinals will again play a third place schedule, so they get the Lions and Falcons again for the third straight year.

The schedule looks like this in terms of opponents:

Home: Rams, 49ers, Seahawks, Eagles, Redskins, Chiefs, Chargers, Lions

Away: Rams, 49ers, Seahawks, Cowboys, Giants, Broncos, Raiders, Falcons

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