TDs and traffic: What you need to know about Cardinals’ Monday night game

Sep 24, 2017, 12:00 PM | Updated: Sep 25, 2017, 11:25 am
(Arizona Cardinals Photo)...
(Arizona Cardinals Photo)
(Arizona Cardinals Photo)

On Monday night, the Arizona Cardinals will take on the Dallas Cowboys at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.

The game is not only the Red Birds’ home opener, but also one of two nationally broadcast games they’ll play this season.

Naturally, fans are pumped. The Cowboys are one of the most popular teams in the country and the Cardinals, coming off a slow start to the season, could ignite their playoff hopes by notching a win on Monday.

But with the big game will come some headaches. For example, the afternoon rush hour will likely be a nightmare across most of the city but traffic will be especially heavy in the West Valley.

There’s also the question of what to do or where to go prior to kickoff for fans who arrive well ahead of time to beat commuters.

So without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about the Cardinals’ Monday night game.

Who’s playing?

Like we said, Monday night’s game will pit the Cardinals against the Cowboys in front of the entire country. Kickoff was scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

The Cardinals have struggled this season, losing their first game to the Lions and then squeaking by the Colts the following week. The team will look to get back on track at University of Phoenix Stadium.

The team lost star running back David Johnson to a wrist injury in Week 1 and will hope a combined backfield of Kerwynn Williams, Andre Ellington and Chris Johnson — along with leaders Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald — will push the offense to a 2-1 record.

The Cowboys also own a 1-1 record and are coming off a bad loss to the Denver Broncos. Running back Ezekiel Elliot posted a dismal eight yards on nine carries, but the Cardinals are well aware of his potential.

However, quarterback Dak Prescott has been known to be slippery in the pocket and the Cardinals have struggled against tight ends this year. The Cowboys’ Jason Witten is one of the best TEs in the league.

How do I get there?

Like all game days, fans heading to the game should leave room for plenty of delays.

Not only will both directions of the Loop 101 near Bethany Home Road be packed with people, but westbound Interstate 10 will likely be clogged with fans coming from the East Valley.

The Arizona Department of Transportation said some drivers should consider taking State Route 51 north to connect to the Loop 101 west and follow that to the Glendale area.

Some roads near the stadium may be closed, so drivers should keep an eye out for signs directing them to parking lots.

Fans planning to use a ride-share service should be aware that there are special drop-off and pickup zones.

I’m here. Now what?

Parking lots for tailgaters will open four hours before kickoff on Monday, along with the Great Lawn. Fans without parking passes will likely have to pay to park.

Several entertainment areas — including those that sell food and alcohol — around the exterior of the stadium will be opened by 2:15 p.m.

Stadium gates will open at 3:30 p.m.

Fans who are looking for a bite to eat, a drink or both can head to the nearby Westgate Entertainment District, located just north of the stadium.

Going inside

Like every game so far at University of Phoenix Stadium, Monday night’s is a sellout.

The team said the busiest time at security checkpoints is the 45 minutes leading up to kickoff.

At the checkpoints, people heading to the game will have to remove cell phones, cameras and other large metal items from their pockets. Wallets and coins can stay in pockets and belts can stay on.

The league’s clear-bag policy will be in effect, meaning fans can only carry a see-through bag that is no larger than 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches. A one-gallon plastic freezer bag or clutch less than 4 1/2 inches by 6 1/2 inches in size is also acceptable.

The team does not allow certain items inside and bags will be searched.

At the game

Have fun!

Arizona native Jordin Sparks will sing the national anthem and 1990s hip-hop artists Young MC and Montell Jordan will provide half-time entertainment.

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TDs and traffic: What you need to know about Cardinals’ Monday night game