With the 2014 NFL regular season coming to a close, we can start looking ahead to 2015, at least the opponents. Luckily for Arizona Cardinals fans, there will be a least one game beyond the regular season.
Nonetheless, the teams the Cardinals will face in 2015 are almost all set.
We already know the Cardinals will face the NFC West both at home and on the road.
They are set to play all the teams in the AFC North and the NFC North.
The only two slots in the schedule left to determine are the teams in the NFC East and NFC South that are determined by their place in the division.
Arizona is in second place in the NFC West, with only a flicker of hope they can win the division (it would require a win over the San Francisco 49ers and a win by the St. Louis Rams in Seattle over the Seahawks). That means they will face the Philadelphia Eagles once again in 2015.
The NFC South opponent will play itself out. The Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons play one another in Week 17 to determine who will win the division. As things end up as they appear they will be, Arizona will play the loser of those two teams.
These are the scenarios:
If the Cardinals remain in second place, these will be their 2015 opponents
If somehow the Cardinals win the NFC West, these will be their 2015 opponents:
Home: Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, winner of Carolina Panthers/Atlanta Falcons Week 17 game
Away: Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams, Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys
In either case, Arizona will play the Lions yet again. It will be the fourth straight season playing one another and the 12th time since 2000. It is a Cardinals tradition.
As mentioned previously, it is very likely the Cardinals will play Philly. It will be the fifth straight season they face each other.
If they play the Falcons, which is a possibility in either scenario, it will be the fourth straight year the two teams meet and the fifth time in six years. It would be the 10th time since 2000 if you include the one postseason matchup.
The 2015 theme? Familiar faces. Will there be familiar results?