The 2014 NFL schedule has been released and the Arizona Cardinals are looking at a similar slate as the one they faced in 2013, when they came up just short of qualifying for the playoffs despite beating the eventual Super Bowl champions lat win the regular season. Their extremely tough games against NFC West opponents are part of the drill, but the Cardinals’ non-divisional schedule should have them in contention for a Wild Card spot in December.
The Cardinals’ schedule for 2014:
Week 1: Monday, Sept. 8 vs. San Diego Chargers — 10:20 p.m. ET
Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 14 at New York Giants — 1:00 p.m. ET
Week 3: Sunday, Sept 21 vs. San Francisco 49ers — 4:05 p.m. ET
Week 4: BYE
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 5 at Denver Broncos — 4:05 p.m. ET
Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 12 vs. Washington Redskins — 4:25 p.m. ET
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 19 at Oakland Raiders — 4:25 p.m. ET
Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 26 vs. Philadelphia Eagles — 4:05 p.m. ET
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 2 at Dallas Cowboys — 1:00 p.m. ET
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 9 vs. St. Louis Rams — 4:25 p.m. ET
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 16 vs. Detroit Lions — 4:25 p.m. ET
Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 23 at Seattle Seahawks — 4:05 p.m. ET
Week 13: Sunday, Nov. 30 at Atlanta Falcons — 4:05 p.m. ET
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 7 vs. Kansas City Chiefs — 4:05 p.m. ET
Week 15: Thursday, Dec. 11 at St. Louis Rams — 8:25 p.m. ET
Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 21 vs. Seattle Seahawks — 8:30 p.m. ET
Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 28 at San Francisco 49ers — 4:25 p.m. ET
Just like last season, the Cardinals finish the year against the best two teams in the NFC. If Arizona can go .500 or better against its divisional opponents (sweep the Rams) and then win the non-divisional games it should (i.e. Chargers, Giants, Redskins, Raiders, Cowboys, Falcons), then the games against the Chiefs and Broncos will be the difference-makers for the season.
The Cardinals simply need to take care of business in 2014, and that includes not only contending, but beating both the Seahawks and 49ers at least once. If that happens, all bets are off in those other unusual matchups. Let’s put it this way, if the Cardinals win in Denver, don’t bet against them in the playoffs.
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