Cardinals have the toughest remaining schedule in NFL
The Arizona Cardinals are on a three-game losing streak after losing a late lead to Tampa Bay on Sunday. After starting 3-3-1, Arizona has fallen deeper into the basement of the NFC West at 3-6-1.
When the Cards get their next win is a tricky question.
ESPN NFL analyst Mike Clay ranked each team’s schedule in terms of difficulty on Tuesday. Arizona has the toughest remaining slate in the NFL according to Clay, with its opponents having a combined 34-21 record this season.
Next week it faces the 8-1 San Francisco 49ers.
The Cardinals have three wins this season against teams that have four combined victories through Week 10. But, they have looked like a much improved team from last year, and had chances to win their last two games (both three-point losses).
They are a major spoiler contender, but there is a difference between outplaying a superior team and coming up short of stealing a game.
Here are their remaining games:
Sun, Nov. 17 @ San Francisco 49ers (8-1)
The Cards were one defensive stop away from having a chance to upset the 49ers two weeks ago. They fell 28-25 after trailing by 14 entering the fourth quarter.
This time they are on the road against a team that just lost its first game in heartbreaking fashion. Whether that fatigues or fuels the ‘Niners could determine what happens.
Sun, Dec. 1 vs Los Angeles Rams (5-4)
Here is a good opportunity.
The Rams lost four of their last six games as they struggled to find the offensive magic from last season.
There could be extra frustration, too, as L.A. faces the Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens in its next two weeks. A couple of tough losses and the Rams could be gasping for their playoff lives, so this is a major spoiler opportunity for Arizona to put L.A. away.
Sun, Dec. 8 vs Pittsburgh Steelers (5-4)
The Steelers could enter this game on a massive win streak. They have already won four straight, and now get to face the 0-9 Cincinnati Bengals and 3-6 Cleveland Browns twice before entering the desert.
The Pittsburgh offense has struggled throughout this season, but the defense has come around. This is a clash between teams with different strengths.
Sun, Dec. 15 vs Cleveland Browns (3-6)
Here could be the last great chance to pick up a victory. The Browns have been a mess this year under head coach Freddie Kitchens, despite the high hopes during the preseason.
The Cardinals could likely move the ball well in this game, and perhaps leave Arizona fans on a high since this is their last home game.
Sun, Dec. 22 @ Seattle Seahawks (8-2)
The Cardinals got annihilated by Seattle earlier this year and this time around the Seahawks could be in a battle for the division. Circumstantially, this could be the Cards’ toughest remaining game.
Sun, Dec. 29 @ Los Angeles Rams (5-4)
The final game of the season could be a make-or-break matchup for Los Angeles or just a formality. If L.A. has a shot at the postseason at home, then this could be a really locked in team, especially if the offense figures itself out.
Cardinals projected final record: 5-10-1
The Rams have been vulnerable this season, so the Cards could strike in one of those matchups if not both. Especially if L.A. is eliminated by Week 17, then who knows who will start that game for the Rams. Besides that, two flawed AFC North teams come to State Farm Stadium. They have a good chance to split those, and perhaps jump up to six wins if they can finish tight games down the stretch.