In the midst of an off-season like never before Last Word on Pro Football is analyzing the schedules of all 32 NFL teams. Each team’s 16 game schedule will be split into its most difficult (1-8) and easiest (9-16) games. For this article, the toughest games on the Arizona Cardinals 2020 schedule are under the microscope.
Arizona Cardinals Most Difficult Games in 2020
1. Week 1: at San Francisco 49ers
The Cardinals will face the Super bowl runners up twice during the regular season. The first time is opening weekend when the Cardinals travel to Levi’s stadium. Kyler Murray and company will look to duplicate what the Cardinals were able to do in 2018 in a 28-18 victory. The San Francisco 49ers will be looking to replicate last season when they won both contests against the Cardinals. Even with an irregular off-season program, the Cardinals may have to wait until Week 2 to grab their first win of 2020.
2. Week 11: at Seattle Seahawks
Another tough division rival that the Arizona Cardinals will come face to face with twice this year is the Seattle Seahawks. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks will be looking for revenge after a Week 16 loss at CenturyLink field last year. This visit to Seattle falls in a tough section of the Cardinals schedule so their offense will have to be at its best if Arizona is going to defeat the Seahawks.
3. Week 16: vs San Francisco 49ers
With both the division title and a postseason berth possibly on the line in Week 16, the Cardinals and 49ers will meet for the second time. State Farm Stadium is an unhappy stomping ground for San Francisco, with last season’s victory the first for the franchise since 2013. The matchup between the Cardinals wide receiver tandem of Larry Fitzgerald and the newly acquired DeAndre Hopkins against the 49ers secondary, including Richard Sherman, will be one to watch. There will potentially be a lot to play for come Week 16 for both franchises.
4. Week 6: at Dallas Cowboys
The first non-division matchup on the list is the Cardinals visit to AT&T Stadium in Week 6. The Dallas Cowboys made big improvements during the off-season, through both the draft and free agency. Many now view the franchise as a serious playoff contender in 2020. The only dark cloud over Dallas is the uncertainty over Dak Prescott and a possible new contract. However, with Arizona allowing the second most passing yards per game last season and Dallas’ offensive depth at wide receiver after re-signing Amari Cooper and drafting CeeDee Lamb it could be a high scoring game in Week 6.
5. Week 7: vs Seattle Seahawks
A week after facing the Dallas Cowboys the Cardinals play their first of two regular season matchups of the year against Seattle. The Cardinals haven’t had much success when welcoming the Seahawks to Arizona. Without a win at home against Seattle since 2012 the Cardinals will be looking to end that streak in 2020. This Cardinals team appears to be vastly better than recent seasons, but they will have to neutralize Russell Wilson to pick up a victory heading into their bye week.
6. Week 10: vs Buffalo Bills
Two franchises that acquired top 10 receivers in free agency will face off in Week 10. Arizona will have to try and breakdown a stubborn Buffalo Bills defense which ranked fourth in yards allowed per game last season and led them to a wildcard appearance. The Bills also added Stefon Diggs as number one target for Josh Allen and they appear to be a team to be feared in 2020. This is only the 12th meeting between the two franchises but the Cardinals have only registered one win in the past seven meetings. With Buffalo’s new additions the Cardinals will have to be at their best to beat the Bills in Week 10.
7. Week 15: vs Philadelphia Eagles
The is the first of a difficult final three games of the regular season for the Cardinals as they will take on the Philadelphia Eagles at State Farm Stadium. In the final game before Christmas day the Cardinals will have to be ready and play well. Barring injuries, Philadelphia will have playoff aspirations similar to last year when they enter Arizona on the 20th of December. To pick up the win Arizona will have to look towards their passing game because of Philadelphia’s impressive rush defense which ranked third in rushing yards allowed per game last season.
8. Week 12: at New England Patriots
For the first time in two decades the Cardinals will face a New England Patriots team without Tom Brady. Arizona has only managed one win against the Bill Belichick and Brady machine, but with a new quarterback under center in New England the Cardinals have better odds than ever before.
The Patriots lost some key personnel this off-season, including Brady, and they’ll start the season with either Jarrett Stidham or Brian Hoyer at quarterback, but their defense still remains one of the best in the NFL. If the Arizona Cardinals defensive ends can apply early pressure they could find success at Gillette stadium. This meeting takes place in between crucial games against division rivals so this becomes a mid season must win for Arizona.
Click here to see the Cardinals easiest games of the 2020 season.