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NFL schedule released, Cardinals open up in St. Louis

The NFL released its 2013 schedule Thursday night, and the Arizona Cardinals will be spending a lot of time on the road at the beginning of the season.

The Cardinals open the new campaign in St. Louis against the Rams September 8.

The Detroit Lions will visit University of Phoenix Stadium to provide the opposition in Arizona’s home opener in Week 2 on Sunday September 15.

Then, it’s back-to-back road games against NFC South teams — Week 3 in New Orleans against the Saints, followed by a trip to Tampa Bay to face the Buccaneers.

In all, four of the Cardinals’ first six games are on the road.

Following a road game against division foe and reigning NFC Champion San Francisco, the Cardinals do get three straight home games, with a bye mixed in.

In Week 7, the Cardinals host Seattle in a Thursday night game that will be televised nationally by NFL Network. It will be Cardinals’ only prime time appearance in 2013. The following week the Atlanta Falcons come to town followed by a Week 9 bye and a visit from the Houston Texans the following Sunday.

The game against the Texans also starts a stretch of three straight versus AFC South teams. The Cardinals will take their second road trip to Florida when they visit the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 11, followed by a visit from head coach Bruce Arians’ former team, the Indianapolis Colts, in Week 12.

Down the stretch, Arizona will play at Philadelphia, home against St. Louis, at Tennessee and at Seattle before returning home to face the 49ers in Week 17 in Glendale.

The Cardinals’ schedule is tied for the seventh-toughest in the league, according to