Arizona Cardinals Schedule 2014: Predicting the Outcome of Every Game

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Arizona Cardinals Schedule 2014 Predicting the Outcome of Every Game

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In 2013 the Arizona Cardinals finished third in the NFC West behind the San Francisco 49ers and the eventual Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks with a 10-6 record. Having narrowly missed the playoffs, they enter 2014 with an improved top ten defense from last year, a rejuvenated Carson Palmer at QB and WR Larry Fitzgerald, so there is no reason they shouldn’t challenge for the playoffs once again. Here are predictions for every 2014 game.

Week 1: vs. San Diego Chargers – 24-17 (WIN)

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Week 1: vs. San Diego Chargers – 24-17 (WIN)

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The Chargers are a fluky team, and you never know what to expect from them. The game is in Arizona, so I’d expect the Cardinals to be prepared. With another offseason for Palmer to work with Fitzgerald, the tandem should be improved. Look for their new weapon at CB, former Charger Antonio Cromartie, to have a nice day against the streaky Philip Rivers.

Week 2: at New York Giants – 27-20 (WIN)

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Week 2: at New York Giants – 27-20 (WIN)

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The Giants aren’t who they used to be. Tom Coughlin might actually get fired, Eli Manning is on the decline and the defense of the Cardinals is going to steal his lunch money. It’s also the only time the Cardinals have to travel to the Northeast and it’s early in the season. Look for a bevy of exotic blitzes that will frustrate the Giants' running game and have Manning tossing Hail Mary interceptions.

Week 3: vs. San Francisco 49ers – 31-24 (WIN)

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Week 3: vs. San Francisco 49ers – 31-24 (WIN)

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Joe Nicholson – USA TODAY Sports

Some of the glamor has worn off of Colin Kaepernick, Frank Gore looks worn down and the 49ers' defense won’t be the same without Donte Whitner, Hitner, or whatever he’s decided on. The Cardinals are going to be the beneficiaries of this decline as Palmer, Fitzgerald and Andre Ellington go all shock and awe and the Cardinals' defense finishes the job.

Week 4: BYE

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Matt Kartozian – USA TODAY Sports

Week 4: BYE

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Matt Kartozian – USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals go into their early bye week riding high and filled with confidence, but it will all come crashing down in Week 5 because a certain Manning brother has a tarnished legacy to repair.

Week 5: at Denver Broncos – 35-21 (LOSS)

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Week 5: at Denver Broncos – 35-21 (LOSS)

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It doesn’t matter how improved the Cardinals is, because the Broncos went all-in this offseason and Peyton Manning can’t be happy about the embarrassment he suffered in the Super Bowl. Todd Bowles’ defense is going to get lit up like the Times Square Christmas tree, and the Broncos' defense is going to raise premature questions about Palmer’s future.

Week 6: vs. Washington Redskins – 34-17 (WIN)

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Week 6: vs. Washington Redskins – 34-17 (WIN)

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The Redskins are a dysfunctional mess. They have a new head coach, a potentially weak secondary and an owner who would be the worst in sports if not for the racist rantings of Donald Sterling. The Cardinals learned humility in Week 5, but the Redskins are the perfect cure and Palmer will have a career day. You could even see a Ted Ginn sighting if the Cardinals get giddy.

Week 7: at Oakland Raiders – 35-10 (WIN)

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Week 7: at Oakland Raiders – 35-10 (WIN)

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They go from one nuthouse to another, but the result will be the same. The Raiders have nothing. They haven’t won 10 games since 2002, go through coaches like a heavy flow through Tampax and the immortal Matt Schaub is their QB. The “Black Hole” will be waving the white flag by halftime.

Week 8: vs. Philadelphia Eagles – 31-27 (WIN)

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Week 8: vs. Philadelphia Eagles – 31-27 (WIN)

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The Cardinals will win this game because it’s in Arizona and their defense is better, but it won’t be easy. The Eagles looked like legitimate Super Bowl contenders at times last season, but at others they looked like a thrown together mishmash that couldn’t score points playing against the invisible man. The Cardinals won’t make the same mistakes as last season and will gut this one out.

Week 9: at Dallas Cowboys – 27-17 (WIN)

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Week 9: at Dallas Cowboys – 27-17 (WIN)

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I almost picked the Cowboys until I remembered Tony Romo is their QB and logic punched me in the face. New weapon for the Cardinals in defensive end John Abraham is going to feel young again, and the Cowboys' lack of a pass rush will allow Palmer to slice and dice Iron Chef style. Fitzgerald could go for 300 yards!

Week 10: vs. St. Louis Rams – 23-20 (WIN)

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Week 10: vs. St. Louis Rams – 23-20 (WIN)

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For being a 10-6 team, the Cardinals sure did get an easy schedule. The Rams could steal this game, but Sam Bradford is turning out to be an injury-plagued bust, their secondary is still a question mark and you’re assuming Tavon Austin and Zac Stacy will continue to develop. That’s a lot of “ifs". The Cardinals will win a close one at home and keep the momentum alive.

Week 11: vs. Detroit Lions – 35-31 (WIN)

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Week 11: vs. Detroit Lions – 35-31 (WIN)

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It will be Fitzgerald vs. Calvin Johnson in this one. Johnson might win the battle of the stats, but the Cardinals will force Matthew Stafford into losing the game, which has become routine lately. Also, the Lions new head coach Jim Caldwell is such a lifeless mannequin on the sidelines he needs to be constantly checked for a pulse. At this point, it will be obvious that the Cardinals are for real.

Week 12: at Seattle Seahawks – 24-17 (LOSS)

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Steve Bisig – USA TODAY Sports

Week 12: at Seattle Seahawks – 24-17 (LOSS)

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Steve Bisig – USA TODAY Sports

It’s on the road against the defending Super Bowl Champions and the 12th man is death to the opposing team’s huddle. There will be no shame in losing the game. The Cardinals will battle and keep it close enough to give them hope in the playoffs, but it will be a game Palmer will likely want to forget.

Week 13: at Atlanta Falcons – 27-20 (LOSS)

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Week 13: at Atlanta Falcons – 27-20 (LOSS)

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It’s a tough two-game stretch for the Cardinals who will be the better team, but coming off a brutal and emotional game in Seattle will take its toll. Matt Ryan is usually solid at home, Julio Jones will be healthy and the Falcons certainly won’t be as bad as their 4-12 record in 2013 might indicate. It is no time to panic, though, as sometimes the best team doesn’t always win.

Week 14: vs. Kansas City Chiefs – 31-14 (WIN)

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Week 14: vs. Kansas City Chiefs – 31-14 (WIN)

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I’m going to believe the 2013 offense of the Chiefs was a mirage and Alex Smith couldn’t possibly replicate last season’s performance. The Cardinals will be at home, have the weapons on offense to challenge the Chiefs' defense and the clock will strike midnight on Smith as the Cardinals prove he is not a franchise QB but a flawed game manager.

Week 15: at St. Louis Rams – 21-7 (WIN)

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Week 15: at St. Louis Rams – 21-7 (WIN)

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It’s unlikely the Rams will have drastically improved since the first meeting, but it's not like it matters, because the Cardinals will be a fine tuned wrecking ball by this point. I expect big things out of Patrick Peterson, who will disrupt whoever is passing the ball for the Rams by Week 15. Bradford will be out with an injury by Week 10; take it to the bank!

Week 16: vs. Seattle Seahawks – 17-14 (WIN)

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Week 16: vs. Seattle Seahawks – 17-14 (WIN)

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The only time Seattle wins on the road is when there is a trophy involved. The Cardinals will learn from the mistakes of their Week 12 loss, protect the football, hassle Russell Wilson and defend the Seahawks receiving corps that no longer has Golden Tate -- or Percy Harvin because he’ll be injured by Week 5. It’ll be a huge confidence boosting win with the playoffs looming.

Week 17: at San Francisco 49ers – 24-14 (LOSS)

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Week 17: at San Francisco 49ers – 24-14 (LOSS)

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It will be another loss following a grueling game against the Seahawks, but it won’t mean much, because the Cardinals will already be in the playoffs. The 49ers have only lost three games at home in the last two years and might be playing Arizona’s backups as the team recuperates for a playoff run.