We finally know.
If there is to be an NFL season, we now know exactly who the Cardinals will play, where they will play them and on what day.
Starting at home against the Panthers and finishing at home against the Seahawks, the schedule is fairly balanced and, based on record, the easiest in the NFL.
“I like the fact that we start at home and we finish at home,” head coach Ken Whisenhunt said.
However, there are some interesting things to note.
First, the Cardinals are scheduled to open the season at home for only the third time since moving to Arizona in 1988. Hey, playing in an air conditioned stadium has its advantages.
And, along with the traditional NFC West foes, Cardinals fans will get to see the Giants, Cowboys and Browns, along with the Panthers, at University of Phoenix Stadium.
But, things aren’t all good.
Three of the team’s first five games (Redskins, Seahawks, Vikings) are on the road and, after a Week 6 bye the Cardinals have dates with the Steelers in Glendale and the Ravens in Baltimore.
“I have a great respect for their players, their coaches, for their fans,” Whisenhunt said about facing his former team. “Obviously they went back to the Super Bowl this year so they’re a very good football team.
“You like to play those games, they’re exciting.”
Following a home date with the Rams the Cardinals will spend weeks 10, 11 and 12 on the road in Philadelphia, San Francisco and St. Louis, a stretch of games that could end up deciding their season.
“It’s apparent to me that we’ve got to be a better road football team this year in order to have a successful season,” Whisenhunt said. “We’ve got to put some focus in playing better on the road and getting back to where we were a couple years ago where we had some success on the road.”
But, if the team can make it through the first 12 weeks in decent shape, the back end of the schedule really smiles on them.
Four of the last five games will be in the (hopefully) friendly confines of UofP Stadium, with the only road game being a Week 16 visit to Cincinnati to face the Bengals. That’s not bad.
“We’re playing some teams that have a good following,” Whisenhunt said. “I know they’re going to try to bring their fans and I’m excited that we’re going to have a chance to get our fans there and have a great environment for those games.”