2014 NFL predictions: How will the Arizona Cardinals fare in the season's 4 quarters?

What is that "S" word? - Jeff Gross

An in-depth look at the Cardinals' schedule (not the s word) and their upcoming season...(also not the s word)

I'm going to take a look at the season in the four "quarters" format that coaches like to look at it....

First Quarter (vs SD, at New York, vs SF, bye, at Denver)

While it's not our easiest quarter of play with games vs. SF and Denver, I do think we got a break playing New York in September and not December, a good team will not let the travel and short week bother them.  This early season bye may be a blessing in disguise as I like my bye week to separate two quality teams like we have in play here.  Knowing how we play at home and with what happened last year vs St. Louis having an early game letdown keeping us out of the playoffs i think we will be highly motivated to make a statement vs SF and Denver.  My prediction 3-1

Second Quarter (vs Washington, at Oakland, vs Philadelphia, at Dallas)

This is by far our easiest stretch all season long, of course that isn't saying much this season.  I'm torn with this area. While I can see on paper how the Cardinals are better than all of these teams, I know usually there is a letdown game during the season.  While I hope we can pull a 4-0 during this stretch before a brutal last two quarters on the season where we have five games vs. the NFC West, I just can't do that.  I think if we win in Denver, the somehow that Washington game is primed to be a letdown.  My prediction 3-1

Third Quarter (vs St. Louis, vs Detroit, at Seattle, at Atlanta)

I do think that Atlanta is going to be improved and back to their form of two years ago, as they were hampered by injuries last year.  I do think that AZ is a better team and should come through with a win but after a tough game in Seattle that I'm sure is going to be close, i cant see a second season of going to Seattle and winning. I think St. Louis and Detroit should be good games for us to get rolling before two straight on the road.  Seattle will be cold but Atlanta won't in the dome. My prediction 3-1

Fourth Quarter (vs Kansas City, at St. Louis, vs Seattle, at San Francisco)

At first glance you look at this and think to yourself: win vs KC and St. Louis and split one of the last two and you got 3-1 again, but for some reason I have a 2-2 feeling on this like we will win the home contests but lose away or i can see winning those two but maybe having a worthless game vs SF and sitting people.  I don't know why I think it and I can't really justify it or know how its going to go down but.... My prediction 2-2

So there you go -- my thoughts and reflections on the schedule (pre-draft mind you). I think we will go 11-5. It should be enough to make the playoffs provided we do better in the division than last year's 2-4.  I think once we get in the playoffs that the dreaded "S" Word i was talking about has a good chance of having a Cardinals name in the end zone this year.  And we all know how well we play at home> I'm just saying...What do you guys think? Am I a homer or off my rocker? Please let me know what you think and please give me your quick season prediction.

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