My first thought is the Cards got some network love. They open the season on Monday Night Football, the late game of a double-header, against the Chargers and will play a Sunday night game in December against the Seahawks — both at University of Phoenix Stadium.
The Cardinals’ 10-6 season received some respect and having Larry Fitzgerald and one of the best defenses in the league didn’t hurt either. The Chargers were a playoff team from a year ago and Philip Rivers found a passing game under the tutelage of the departed, Ken Whisenhunt.
Having the bye week in week four sucks buttermilk. Not the 4th week of the season! Anything but a bye in September! As a former player, you’d rather barf on a flat rock than have your bye that early in the season.
There were some anomalies as well. This Big Red schedule is so balanced. They play 4 home games and 4 away games in each half of the season. And the rhythm is something I haven’t seen since doing the Cards color for the last 9 years. Home-away, home-away, home-away, home-away- home for the first 9 weeks of the season.
What? Even the break in rhythm seems balanced, turning November into the wildcard month of their season. They have consecutive home games in November, STL and DET, and then back-to-back road games against Seattle and Atlanta before resuming the home-away sequence in December.
And their Thursday night game couldn’t come at a better time. Week 14 they have a home game against KC then play Thursday night in Week 15 on the road in St. Louis. This will give them a mini-bye near the end of the season, while preparing for a home game against Seattle. The only negative I see is that your Thursday night game isn’t a home game. But it’s not like St Louis is a grueling flight. It should also be noted, that preparing for a division foe late in the season will alleviate much of the Thursday night consternation from the coaching offices. Big Red coaches will feel very comfortable getting their players ready on a short week for a team they have already played.
Finally, they end the season with sheer brutality by touring and sampling the NFC West: @STL, SEA, @SF.
There will be blood and we’ll find out who is going to drink the other’s milkshake! Isn’t it great?