ARIZONA CARDINALS

Rapid Reactions: Potential challenges of Arizona Cardinals’ 2020 schedule

May 7, 2020, 6:10 PM | Updated: May 8, 2020, 7:10 am
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray, left, talks with head coach Kliff Kingsbury during the ...
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray, left, talks with head coach Kliff Kingsbury during the second half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/John Hefti)
(AP Photo/John Hefti)

Thursday brought the release of the Arizona Cardinals’ 2020 regular season schedule and there’s plenty to take away.

From opening the season on the road against the NFC champs and a division foe to two primetime games, the schedule has some shine to it.

To discuss that and more, here are Arizona Sports’ hosts, reporters, editors and producers on the schedule.

Dave Burns, co-host of Burns & Gambo

My first reaction was the relatively soft landing at the start of the schedule. Other than the opener at the 49ers, the Cards have a pretty cushy looking start with games at home against Washington and the Lions and road games versus the Panthers and the Jets. A strong start feels almost expected and judging by the back half of the schedule, maybe even necessary.

The rough patch starts in Week 10 hosting Buffalo. From there, Arizona plays at Seattle, at New England, home against the Rams and on the road against the Giants. I don’t expect all those teams to be playoff-caliber but it’s reasonable to think that many of them could be. The Patriots and Giants potentially are bad weather games and the Seattle game is the Thursday Night game, so you’ll have the quick turnaround after the Bills game to add to the difficulty.

Vince Marotta, co-host of Bickley & Marotta

Well, it won’t take long to get a gauge on how much the Cardinals have improved since last year. How about getting to visit the defending NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers in Week 1.

That shock is mitigated by coming home for what appear to be back-to-back winnable games against Washington and Detroit.

I can say I don’t remember the last time the Cardinals had three straight road games without a bye week mixed in, but that’s what they get Weeks 4, 5 and 6 with treks to Carolina, New York and Dallas for a Monday Night tilt. OK, there’s a reason why I didn’t remember it — it was 2011. That Cardinals team had trips to Philadelphia, San Francisco and St. Louis in three straight weeks and actually went 2-1.

I do like the Week 8 bye — much better than the Week 12 off week the Cardinals were offered last year. And I’m a little sad we won’t witness Arizona’s annual late-December win in Seattle — that instead, will occur in November.

And finally, with four Eastern road trips on the schedule, I suppose it’s a blessing that two of them will occur before the middle of October.

Dan Bickley, co-host of Bickley & Marotta

Click above for Dan Bickley’s full reactions in his column.

The release of the 2020 schedule does nothing to dampen the excitement in Arizona, where the Cardinals must compete inside a highly-competitive division but face a manageable diet of teams and opposing quarterbacks outside the NFC West.

Doug Franz, co-host of Doug & Wolf

Click above for Doug Franz’s look at the schedules for every team in the NFC West.

The only team that doesn’t play back-to-back East Coast road games: Seahawks

10:00 a.m. (body clock) starts: Cardinals/49ers – 2 each, Rams/Seahawks – 4 each

Kevin Zimmerman, ArizonaSports.com editor and reporter

For a second-year head coach and a second-year quarterback who may or may not be coming off an abbreviated offseason, I like how the Cardinals’ schedule lines up.

To be clear, the second half is a bear with NFC West powers and well-coached teams filling in all eight games. But that front-half? I like it.

The first eight games do include a three-game road stretch, yet the Cardinals play four 2019 division bottom-dwellers in its first eight outings with three squads entering the year under new head coaches. If you’re a young team, building momentum and confidence is possible with this schedule.

Luke Lapinski, host of The Rundown and reporter

The first two things that jump out at me are the Cowboys game and — oddly enough — the bye week. To me, that Cowboys game is a showcase game. Week 6, Monday night, in Dallas — that’s not the sort of game the NFL was putting the Cardinals in after the Josh Rosen-Steve Wilks fiasco.

But this is Kyler Murray’s team now. Kliff Kingsbury is designing innovative plays from his majestic house, DeAndre Hopkins has given the air game a jolt and the team’s profile has clearly been raised. Winning that game on national TV would only raise it further.

To that end, the Week 1 game in San Francisco could be a huge statement game if the Cards find a way to win it. And remember, they nearly beat the 49ers at home on Halloween last year, and should have beaten them in San Francisco. It’s not impossible. If they lose, no big deal. They were “supposed” to. But they could send a message to the rest of the league if they stun the NFC champs in their building to begin the year.

As far as the bye week, that just stands out because it’s right in the middle of the season. If you’re a fringe playoff contender like Arizona, that’s a pretty good time to have a break. A Week 4 bye really does nothing for you, and you could be beat up and out of it by your week off if it doesn’t come until Week 12.

Kellan Olson, ArizonaSports.com editor and reporter

The schedule favors the Cardinals if they come into form sooner rather than later.

Put them at three or four wins through five weeks and they are likely in proper form to challenge the Dallas Cowboys in primetime and then the Seattle Seahawks six days later.

But if things go wrong before the bye? They could spiral there and then have a must-win against the Dolphins coming out of it. From there, it’s only three days off after facing the 10-win Bills before going to play a Seattle team fresh off a bye on a Thursday.

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Rapid Reactions: Potential challenges of Arizona Cardinals’ 2020 schedule