The NFL offseason is the longest among the major North American leagues. There are no games from early February through early August. However, there are very few dead periods during those six months. Prior to the draft, we took a look at the 2019 Arizona Cardinals schedule, and look into the crystal ball at how it would unfold. Now, with OTAs in full swing around the league, we offer the second installment of our Counting Eggs series, and offer the post-draft schedule predictions.
Week 1: 9/8 – 1:25PM MST
Detroit Lions – Win, 1-0
This doesn’t change from the last time. The Cardinals are at home and fans will be excited to see the new look roster. Momentum is slowly building towards the season opener. Detroit is the first sacrifice of the season.
Week 2: 9/15 – 10:00AM MST
@ Baltimore Ravens – Loss, 1-1
Baltimore is a tough place to play for anyone. The Ravens have a formidable defense, even with the departures of Terrell Suggs and C.J. Mosely. Offensively, the Ravens will test the run defense of the Cardinals. Result stays the same, a loss here.
Week 3: 9/22 – 1:05PM MST
Carolina Panthers – Loss, 1-2
The Panthers got tougher up front with the addition of defensive tackle, Gerald McCoy. Kyler Murray is in the middle of a brutal three game stretch against some of the best defenses in the league. If Cam Newton isn’t playing or not at full strength, this game becomes interesting.
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Week 4: 9/29 – 1:05PM MST
Seattle Seahawks – Loss, 1-3
The NFC West is shaping up to be a war. Seattle visits State Farm Stadium for the first battle. It will be a week of comparing Murray and Russell Wilson. These two teams have a penchant for tight games, and this one is is no exception. Arizona will have their chances, but experience matters when the game is on the line.
Week 5: 10/06 – 10:00AM MST
@ Cincinnati Bengals – Win, 2-3
First road win for head coach Kliff Kingsbury and the 2019 Cardinals. This is the game where Murray breaks out and shows why he was drafted number one overall. A win creates good momentum heading into a stretch of five out of the next six games against teams who missed the playoffs in 2018.
Week 6: 10/13 – 1:05PM MST
Atlanta Falcons – Win, 3-3
Nothing better than a road victory one week, then back home for the following game. The Falcons defense is the weakest the Cardinals have faced thus far. Kingsbury gets ambitious with this one and Arizona avenges last season’s drubbing.
Week 7: 10/20 – 10:00AM MST
@ New York Giants – Win, 4-3
Last installment, this was marked as a loss, but that was with Josh Rosen being the New York signal caller. Don’t be surprise if this is a battle between rookie quarterbacks. The Cardinals offense could be finding its groove. If so, we are in store for quite a few boo birds being directed toward the home team.
Week 8: 10/27 – 10:00AM MST
@ New Orleans Saints – Loss, 4-4
New Orleans are a pissed off team. They feel robbed out of representing the NFC after the non-call for pass interference. The Saints are explosive on offense and has a defense with ample talent. It would take an out-of-body performance by both sides of the ball for the Cardinals to pull this out. Or at least a hungover Saints.
Week 9: 10/31 – 5:20PM MST
San Francisco 49ers – Loss, 4-5
The 49ers have added talent at key positions on both sides of the ball through free agency and the draft. If the 49ers are relatively healthy, and that is a large if, they could contend for a playoff spot. The Cardinals need a big game from the defense.
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Week 10: 11/10 – 11:00AM MST
@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Win, 5-5
Arizona visits an old friend, former head coach, Bruce Arians. The Cardinals have the better roster on paper. It will be interesting to see how Arians can get Jameis Winston performing like a former top pick. A win here gets the team past last year’s debacle.
Week 11: 11/17 – 2:05PM MST
@ San Francisco 49ers – Loss, 5-6
Another change from the first installment. San Francisco get the season sweep for the first time since Jim Harbaugh left the Bay Area. This could be a different result if you ask me in a month.
Week 12: BYE
Perfect time for the rest before the final stretch of a brutal schedule.
Week 13: 12/01 – 2:05PM MST
Los Angeles Rams – Win, 6-6
Arizona is at home and feeling the euphoria from a possible chase for a wild-card spot. Kyler Murray can win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award with this game. The Cardinals are in the race!
Week 14: 12/08 – 2:25PM MST
Pittsburgh Steelers – Win, 7-6
If the Cardinals are indeed in contention for a playoff spot, it will be interesting to see the crowd breakdown for this home game. Pittsburgh has a strong contingent of fans in the valley and they are not shy about showing up and making noise. There are a ton of questions facing what the Steelers offense can do without Antonio Brown. This should be a fun game.
Week 15: 12/15 – 2:05PM MST
Cleveland Browns – Loss, 7-7
Arizona enters 2019 hoping they can show the same improvement shown by the Browns in 2018. At this point in time, Cleveland is just a bit more ahead in their rebuild after years of awful play. So many narratives, so little time, it will be a fun week.
Week 16: 12/22 – 2:25PM MST
@ Seattle Seahawks – Win, 8-7
This is where the wheels fell off the last time we took a look at the schedule. It will likely come down to either of these two for the final playoff spot. Can the Cardinals take a giant leap forward and legitimately push for the playoffs? Murray/Wilson Part Two promises to be a heavyweight battle.
Week 17: 12/29 – 2:25PM MST
@ Los Angeles Rams – Lose, 8-8
The best case (realistic) scenario is that the Rams have things locked up and are looking to rest some starters. Worst case would be a Los Angeles team needing a victory. The Rams are looking for retribution after a shocking midseason loss in Arizona. Kingsbury is looking to get the best of the NFL’s wunderkind, Sean McVay. The hope is this game has high stakes for both teams.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. A single win was added to the final total after the draft. The pre-draft iteration assumed the Cardinals would select Kyler Murray with the top overall pick. The assumption is why the final record changed so little. Arizona looks to have quite the haul from the draft with cornerback Byron Murphy and receivers Andy Isabella and Hakeem Butler. Defensively, the Cardinals should be back to where they’ve been for the better part of the last decade.
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Things could change between today and the start of the regular season. The season opener is three months away. We’ll be back with the last installment of our Counting Eggs series after the rosters have been trimmed for the start of the regular season. Let’s hope for the best!