At the beginning of the 2013 season the Cardinals were tied with the Miami Dolphins and the San Francisco 49ers for the 7th hardest strength of schedule (SoS). Arizona playing in the NFC West was bound to have a high projected SoS with the 49ers and Seattle Seahawks on the schedule. But 7th hardest with a practically new team? Ouch.
At the beginning of 2013 the Cardinals were predicted by former NFC West blogger Mike Sando to go 7-9. The prediction made sense; the Cardinals had a new coaching staff, new general manager and a new (but old) QB leading the way. The team, for lack of a better word, sucked at the end of 2012 going 2-4 in conference play and losing 11 of their 12 final games. Considering the Cardinals difficult schedule due to playing against the Seahawks, 49ers and the St. Louis Rams (who several pundits predicted to be a dark horse team) twice each, many thought the team would be the bottom dweller of the NFC West in 2013.
But we all know how 2013 turned out (how sweet it is).
At the end of the 2013 season the SoS predictions from the beginning of the season were reviewed and updated by Jon Oliver from our sister SBNation.com site http://www.canalstreetchronicles.com/. From those rankings we can see that the Cardinals actually ended up with the 5th hardest schedule in the NFL.
Let’s take a minute to let that sink in, the Cardinals with one of the worst lines in the league, a new coaching staff, GM and a almost completely turned over roster won ten games with the 5th most difficult schedule in the NFL.
Bruce Arians, Steve Keim, we’re not worthy.
This year the Cardinals find themselves in almost the same position as last year, playing the 8th ranked most difficult schedule in the NFL. With hard games at every turn, like AFC West matchup foes San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos to start the season (games one and four, respectively) and the season ending with three straight NFC West games (At Rams, Seahawks, at 49ers) it's no wonder the Cardinals SoS is so high.
The Cardinals defense may have regressed, but most likely the offense have improved. Do you think that the Cardinals win ten games again? Vote and discuss!