The Arizona Cardinals’ 2017 schedule released on Thursday looks a little different than the past few seasons.
For one, a trip to London to face the Los Angeles Rams is set for Week 7, just before a Week 8 bye.
Arizona also opens with a difficult back-to-back away stretch before the Week 3 home opener at University of Phoenix Stadium against the Dallas Cowboys. The team last opened on the road in 2013, against the St. Louis Rams.
Here are several other items of note regarding Arizona’s schedule.
Miles and miles: The trip beyond the United States’ right coast puts the Cardinals at 15,213 miles of expected travel in 2017. That’s third-most in the NFL behind the Raiders (16,443 miles) and Rams (16,220 miles), per ESPN Stats & Info.
About that start: Three NFL teams begin the season with two games on the road. Arizona visits the Lions and then the Colts. That might seem daunting considering a rough go in those games only leads into another challenge against the Cowboys, but both Green Bay and Miami started with consecutive away games last year and ended up in the playoffs. The Jets and Eagles join the Cardinals with two road games to begin 2017.
Tough finish: The Cardinals have the fifth most difficult four-game stretch to wrap the 2017 season based on opponent record from 2016. They play the Titans at home, the Redskins on the road, the Giants at home and then finish the year at Seattle. Those four teams won 61 percent of their games a year ago.
Reasonable travel: Not only is the bye week after the Cardinals’ trip to London. Following the flight over the Atlantic, Arizona will travel east of Phoenix just twice — to Houston and Maryland — in the final nine games. Add in trips to Santa Clara, Calif. and Seattle, and the other five games are in Glendale, including a three-game set against Jacksonville, Los Angeles and Tennesee.
Not on London time: While past games in Europe have begun before the break of dawn in Arizona, that won’t be the case for the Oct. 22 game at Twickenham Stadium in England. The Cards and Rams kick off at 10 a.m. MST.
Home cookin’ on national TV: Both of the Cardinals’ prime-time games — Monday, Sept. 25 against the Cowboys on ESPN and Thursday, Nov. 9 against the Seahawks — are at home. The Houston game will be broadcast on NFL Network, NBC and will also be streamed on Amazon.
Last first time: The Jaguars and Titans will make their first visits to University of Phoenix Stadium, which opened in 2006. After that, all 31 opponents will have played in the Glendale home of the Cardinals.
Week 2 return: Arizona coach Bruce Arians makes his first return to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis since he won the 2012 NFL Coach of the Year honor after leading the Colts on an interim basis while Chuck Pagano recovered from leukemia. It will be Arizona’s first game at Lucas Oil Stadium.