Cardinals to face 4 teams with new head coaches in 2020
With NFL teams fully staffed and the schedule released, the Arizona Cardinals have a clearer picture of what’s in store for the 2020 season.
The Cardinals are scheduled to face four teams who find themselves in the same unenvious position Arizona was both of the past two seasons: with a new head coach.
The Washington Redskins, Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants have all made head coaching changes so far this offseason.
On Thursday, the NFL announced the scheduling for when Arizona will see these teams.
Sept. 20 vs. Washington Redskins
The Redskins fired head coach Jay Gruden after starting 0-5 last season. After the season, they hired former Panthers coach Ron Rivera.
The Cardinals will get a look at Rivera early, as the home opener in Week 2 will be against the Redskins at 1:05 p.m.
Rivera spent nine years at the helm of the Panthers, leading them to four playoff berths and one Super Bowl appearance.
The apex of his tenure was 2015, when the team went 15-1, Cam Newton was named MVP and the Panthers beat the Cardinals en route to the Super Bowl. The Panthers lost the title game to the Denver Broncos.
Overall, Rivera went 76-63 with the Panthers and was 3-4 in the playoffs.
Washington will be the fifth NFL team Rivera has worked for in his career. He coached for the Eagles, Bears and Chargers before landing his first NFL head coaching gig with the Panthers in 2011.
The Redskins went 3-13 last year and hold the second pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Oct. 4 at Carolina Panthers
The Panthers, who fired Rivera on Dec. 3, announced former Baylor head coach Matt Rhule as the new man in charge this offseason. They committed to him long-term, agreeing to a seven-year contract worth $62 million and up to $70 million with incentives, according to ESPN.
Rhule will only have three games of NFL experience before the Panthers host the Cardinals.
Arizona travels to Charlotte to face the Panthers on Oct. 4 at 10 a.m.
Rhule served as the head coach at Temple from 2013-2016. After going 2-10 the first season, he turned the team around and led the Owls to a 10-4 record and Boca Raton Bowl appearance in 2015. In 2016, he went 10-3 before being named the Baylor head coach prior to the Military Bowl appearance.
He went through a similar sequence at Baylor. The Bears had a disastrous 2017 campaign, going 1-11, but last season they went 11-3 and faced Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship and Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.
Rhule is now in the NFL ranks.
The Cardinals and Panthers played in Week 3 of 2019, with quarterback Kyle Allen leading Carolina to a 38-20 win. The Panthers finished 5-11.
Oct. 19 at Dallas Cowboys
For the first time in a decade, Jason Garrett will not be the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.
He and the Cowboys parted ways after missing the playoffs for the second time in the last three years and being unable to progress after a 13-3 2016 campaign. Over Garrett’s nine full season and eight games in 2010, the Cowboys went 85-67 and made the playoffs three times.
In steps Mike McCarthy, the former Green Bay Packers coach and 2010 Super Bowl champion.
The Cardinals will get to see them with the nation’s eyes on them for Monday Night Football.
This will be their first MNF game since 2017, which was a loss to the Cowboys.
McCarthy spent the majority of 13 seasons as the head coach of the Packers, guiding them to eight seasons with 10-plus wins and nine playoff appearances. With him at the helm, Green Bay went 125-77-2 and 10-8 in the playoffs.
He was fired in 2018 after a Week 13 loss to the Cardinals.
McCarthy served as an assistant coach in the NFL from 1993-2005 prior to being hired by the Packers. He did not coach last season.
The Cowboys went 8-8 in 2018 and missed the playoffs.
Dec. 13 at New York Giants
The Giants, who hired Pat Shurmur the same offseason Arizona hired Steve Wilks, have moved onto a new head coach.
Joe Judge was announced as the new Giants coach this offseason.
Judge does not have head coaching experience, but he has coached for two of the premier football teams in the country. Judge was a special teams assistant at Alabama from 2009-11 and was hired by the New England Patriots for the same position in 2012.
He was promoted to Patriots special teams coordinator in 2015 and added wide receivers coach to his list of duties in 2019.
New York hopes to improve upon its 4-12 season under Judge.
The Giants will get plenty of time under Judge before Arizona visits New York. The scheduling could make this a tricky game for the Cardinals: It will not only be their third road game over the previous four weeks, but there will be lots of cross-country travel leading up to it. Arizona will play at Seattle, at New England, come home to face the Rams and then head back to the East Coast to play the Giants.
In total, these four teams Arizona will play next season had a combined record of 20-44 in 2019.
The Cardinals hope to take advantage of the discontinuity in these teams while facing a tough schedule that includes six games against NFC West opponents and the New England Patriots.