The Arizona Cardinals and the rest of the league know their schedule for the 2014 season. We know they open at home on Monday Night Football against the San Diego Chargers. They have three prime time regular season games, alternate between home and away almost all season and play almost all their NFC West games in the second half of the season, including the final three games.
What will be, as of right now, the biggest games on the schedule?
Week 1 vs. San Diego
It's not a division game and it is only Week 1, but the Cardinals need to come out of the gate playing well and, with the game on national television, need to show why the league gave them the games they did. Nothing will sink expectations quicker than laying en egg in Week 1. Cardinals fans need a good showing to kick off the season.
Week 3 vs. San Francisco
Arizona hasn't beaten the 49ers since 2011 and have struggled in the division for a while. This is the team's only divisional game early in the schedule. If the team is to make any noise in the division, it can't lose at home to their division teams.
Week 5 at Denver
This is the team's biggest test early on. They will have an extra week to prepare for Peyton Manning, as they have the early bye. How will the defense stack up against the league's number one offense in 2013?
Week 8 vs Philadelphia
This is the team's "revenge game" of sorts. After losing in disappointing and somewhat controversial fashion last season, Arizona will want to bounce back at home and take the win they didn't get on the road.
Week 16 vs. Seattle
This game will matter a lot. Again, the Cardinals can't afford to lose home games in the division and this one will be their last home game of the season. They will be on Sunday Night Football and they will have had a few extra days to prepare, as Week 15 they will play on Thursday night. Even in April, this game will surely have playoff implications.
Week 17 at San Francisco
Closing the regular season on the road within the division means it should be a big game. Most anticipate that this could decide the division title one way or another. Will Arizona have a playoff spot already or will this game determine it?
What other games on the schedule do you think will matter more than these six? Discuss it in the comments.
- Tyrann Mathieu would be 4th overall pick in 2013 redraft
- 2014 NFL mock draft: Dee Ford, Troy Niklas are Arizona Cardinals top picks
- 2014 NFL mock draft: Todd McShay would take Teddy Bridgewater for Arizona Cardinals
- Darnell Dockett disppointed in Karlos Dansby departure, taking on greater leadership role
- 2014 NFL Draft: Bruce Arians' comments signals unlikely early QB pick