On to the next ones: A look at the Cardinals’ 2020 opponents
While the season isn’t technically over, it’s never too early to start talking about the 2020 season.
Compiling a 5-10-1 under first-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury, the Arizona Cardinals are hoping to build off of the team’s successes in Year 1.
Standing in their way, however, are the team’s from out east and the usual suspects from the NFC West.
Here’s a look at the Cardinals’ 2020 opponents as we head into the offseason:
The Cardinals will play seven of their 16 games (43.75%) against 2019 playoff teams.
Five of the 12 playoffs teams are set to take on the Cardinals in 2020, two of which came out of the NFC West. The 49ers secured the No. 1 seed in the NFC, while the Seahawks earned a Wild Card berth.
THE FOUR HORSEMEN
There will be not one, not two, but four new coaching hires on the docket, three of which come from the same division. The Carolina Panthers, Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants all made the switch this offseason.
Of the four, only the Cowboys had a .500 record, as the group finished with a combined 20-44 record in 2019.
WINS AT A PREMIUM
Seven teams the Cardinals face next season finished with a .500 record or lower.
Unsurprisingly, four of the seven teams underwent coaching changes, with the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins standing pat with Adam Gase and Brian Flores, respectively. Outside those seven teams, the lowest win total among the rest of the 2020 opponents is nine (Rams).
On the other side of the coin, six teams finished the regular season over .500, with four posting double-digit win totals.
RUN THE ROCK
While more and more teams look to the air, a gritty ground game still pays dividends in the NFL.
Seven teams (SF, SEA, BUF, PHI, NYG, DAL, CAR) finished the regular season among the top 14 in the NFL for rushing with at least 1,819 yards on the ground. San Francisco led the pack of 2020 opponents, putting up 2,305 yards and 23 touchdowns. Only three teams (NYJ, DET, WSH) had less than 10 rushing touchdowns.
The Cardinals found themselves right in the mix, finishing the season with the 10th-best rushing attack in terms of yards per game.
Just five of the 13 teams (DAL, CAR, NE, LAR, DET) on the Cardinals’ schedule were in the top 10 for passing in 2019.
EASTBOUND AND DOWN
The Cardinals will face off against both the AFC and NFC East, with the Lions (NFC North) and Carolina (NFC South) sprinkled in the mix. As a division, the AFC East finished the season 34-30, third in the NFL, while the NFC East posted a 24-40 record.
It’s a new year of football, but the old foes remain for Arizona.
The NFC West led the NFL with a 38-25-1 record this year, as the 49ers and Seahawks finished the season at 13-3 and 11-5, respectively.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
When looking at the home and away win-loss totals, the Cardinals’ 2020 opponents fared much better at home, combining for a 35-27 record. On the road, it was a different story, as the teams went 33-30-1.