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ESPN’s John Clayton: Cardinals got some of NFL’s worst scheduling problems

Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians, left, general manager Steve Keim, right, and president Michael Bidwill, center, watch workouts during NFL football training camp, Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
LISTEN: John Clayton, ESPN NFL insider

If you’re a fan of the Arizona Cardinals, you’re going to have to wait a little bit longer than fans of other teams will to see your favorite team play its first home game.

That’s because the Cardinals are one of three teams in 2017 to open their schedule with back-to-back road games. That’s just one of several problems that the Cardinals have to deal with, as Arizona’s newly-announced slate of games has a few quagmires.

ESPN analyst John Clayton was asked by Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM on Friday if the Cardinals got “screwed” by the NFL schedule-makers.

“I think so, yeah,” he said. “There’s always going to be complaints from just about every team, but everything worked against the Cardinals in this one.”

Clayton pointed out that the Cardinals have six starts before noon MST, open with two straight road games and have two cold weather games in December (Washington and Seattle).

On the other hand, Seattle — which finished 10-5-1 in 2016 as the top team in the NFC West — gets just one road game to start their schedule, doesn’t play back-to-back road games in consecutive weeks (but does with a bye in between) and plays in Jacksonville and Dallas in December.

“So it looks like just about every element that a team can complain about is there for the Cardinals,” Clayton said. “They did not get a break. In fact, I think this is really going to hurt their chances next year to try and stay with Seattle.”

The Cardinals also have just two primetime games in 2017, one on Monday, Sept. 25 against the Cowboys, which is also Arizona’s home opener, and one on Thursday, Nov. 9 against none other than the Seahawks at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Those Seahawks, however, have four primetime games.

“It looks as though the schedule-makers or the networks do not have a belief in the Cardinals,” Clayton said.

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