Let’s be clear. The Arizona Cardinals don’t have any really easy games in 2022. Facing the league’s second-toughest strength of schedule, 2022 will test where this Cardinals roster is. However, compared to the very best teams that Arizona play in 2022, there are several games that pose somewhat less of an unassailable challenge. It’s also worth noting that Arizona’s bye week swings in at Week 13, so that’s not ideal either.
With training camp right around the corner, Last Word on Pro Football is analyzing the most difficult (1-8) and easiest (9-17) games for each team. Take this with a pinch of salt, but here are the Arizona Cardinals easiest games in 2022.
Check out the Arizona Cardinals Most Difficult Games of 2022.
Easiest Games on 2022 Arizona Cardinals Schedule
#9: Week 11 vs San Francisco 49ers
The Cardinals have effectively given up their home game versus the San Francisco 49ers this year. Instead, the two teams will play at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. The game will feature a repeat of the NFL’s first Mexico City game when the two teams met in 2005; the Cardinals won that game. Honestly, there’s no reason why the Cardinals won’t repeat that feat in 2022. The Niners can be a tough task, but can also be one of the Cardinals easiest games in 2022. San Francisco, on top form, with George Kittle and Deebo Samuel doing their things, are Super Bowl-caliber side. Thing is, the franchise is in flux right now. Jimmy Garoppolo is a spare part, it’s unclear whether Trey Lance is that guy, and Deebo Samuel might not even play, with the versatile offensive weapon wanting out of the Bay area.
It’s still hazy as to what the Niners will be in 2022, but they will most likely be Arizona’s top divisional rival in terms of playoff seeding down the stretch. Regardless of which Niners team they get in Mexico, this game may define Arizona’s chances on the back nine in 2022.
#8: Week 14 vs New England Patriots
Finally, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will make their way to State Farm Stadium in the same season. Granted, they’re on different teams, but still. However, while Brady and the Bucs pose an imposing task to the Cardinals, Bill Belichick’s Patriots represent a comparatively easier matchup. They’re still in the ‘After Brady’ era and, although Mac Jones looks to be the perfect guy to run their system, he’s not on the same level as some of the game-changing quarterbacks that Arizona faces in 2022. This is also a Patriots squad that has lost a number of significant personnel, both on and off the field. Star corner J.C. Jackson is gone, offensive lineman Ted Karras too, while long-time offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, actually took another job this time.
Beating a Belichick side is never going to be an easy proposition, but this is far from the Patriots dynasty as they are weaker than they were last year. Swapping late-season north-east weather for the desert is also a factor to consider in favor of the Cardinals. I’ll say it again, beating Belichick isn’t easy. However, it’s going to be comparatively less difficult in 2022 than it has been for over 20 years.
#7: Week 5 vs Philadelphia Eagles
Okay, so the Philadelphia Eagles have wide receivers now. They brought in DeVonta Smith and acquired A.J. Brown during this year’s draft, addressing their biggest need for multiple seasons now. Yet the Cardinals shouldn’t be too concerned with the threat posed by the Eagles. The league still isn’t sure what to think of Jalen Hurts, who’ll have to prove it to the Eagles this season to remain their guy. However, he’s a guy that could still go either way, More importantly, he has the dual-threat talent that is lacking in many of Arizona’s easier quarterback matchups this season.
This is an early game, ergo, no DeAndre Hopkins. Yet, by Week 5, the Cardinals should have fleshed out what their offense needs to do in his absence. Really, the feature of this game will be Philly legend Zach Ertz and his first game against the Eagles since last year’s trade. Unfortunately or Philadelphia, he will, at this stage of the season, be a top component of Arizona’s passing offense, and has the potential to shine against his former team. The dynamic potential of the Eagles means this game is going to have some entertainment value, but it’s one that the Cardinals should win.
#6: Week 4 @ Carolina Panthers
Death, taxes, and the Cardinals having a terrible game against the Carolina Panthers. In 2021, the Cardinals got absolutely jack-stomped by the Panthers. It seems to happen every year; Arizona plays Carolina EVERY year, but this time, there is cause for optimism. Yes, Arizona’s record against Carolina is a factor to consider, but this Carolina team isn’t one that many are calling a contender. In fact, they’re a team some thought would be improved by signing Baker Mayfield, so they can’t be too good.
Again, it’s an early-season game, so no Hopkins, but this is a defensive cross to bear. Arizona needs an answer to Christian McCaffrey, who was Carolina’s top rusher and receiver in the game last year. Stop McCaffrey, beat Carolina. Arizona has the tools to do it, with a reinforced line and tonnes of athleticism at the second level, but they’ll have to prove they can actually do it this time.
#5: Week 8 @ Minnesota Vikings
The bad news is that the Minnesota Vikings took the Cardinals to the wire in Week 2 last year. The good news is that it was largely Arizona’s fault, rather than the Vikings being very good. Here in 2022, the Vikings look to be very much the same team as they were last year, so much so that they even re-signed Patrick Peterson. Down this list, we’re at the point where the Cardinals games are actually starting to get quote-unquote easy. The Vikings have an average-looking squad, with only a handful of top-quality players. They’re also under a new head coach, Kevin O’Connell, so there’s no guarantee that he reignites what has been somewhat of a stagnant team in recent years.
This is a game that the Cardinals just have to try to not make themselves lose, and they’ll likely win it. Kirk Cousins is decidedly average, but will beat Arizona with his arm should he be given the opportunity. There are other factors, the likes of Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook, but the full-strength Cardinals can outweigh Minnesota at most positions and should run out winners here.
#4: Week 7 vs New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints are in a weird spot. They’re running with Jameis Winston in 2022, which is a decision upon which they will either sink or swim, Furthermore, their off-season strategy seems to revolve almost entirely around recruiting former locals and LSU stars; Jarvis Landry has signed, and Tyrann Mathieu has come home too. They’re an Odell Beckham Jr away from changing their uniforms to purple and yellow. However, as simple as it may seem, it’s not like the Saints are picking up bad players. In fact, they now have a great receiving corps, Landry joining Michael Thomas and rookie Chris Olave, as well as a defensive general in Mathieu.
Sean Payton has walked away, so the Saints are led by former defensive coordinator Dennis Allen. However, the loss of Payton, previously one of the league’s longest-tenured head coaches, will undoubtedly affect this team. That quarterback situation is also going to be a defining component. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to believe in Winston’s consistency, and leading New Orleans past a Cardinals side set to have Hopkins back for the first time in Week 7 should be too tall a task.
#3: Week 6 @ Seattle Seahawks
The Seattle Seahawks aren’t looking good. Russell Wilson is gone and the makeweight, Drew Lock, is hardly expected to become a mainstay in the Pacific Northwest. Despite still boasting the likes of D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, nobody really expects the Seahawks to do much this year. While Arizona and San Francisco are set to compete for the playoff spots, the Seahawks will, barring some catastrophe from one of the other NFC West sides, prop up the division.
The Seahawks set up to give Lock the best shot at it in Seattle. Their top draft choice, offensive tackle Charles Cross, is indicative of that. However, that feels very much like setting the table for the new regime, which is unlikely to start this year. It’s all projective for the Seahawks, who, much to the delight of Cardinals fans, will be the whipping boys of the division this year. The Cardinals should sweep the season series against their fiercest rivals.
#2: Week 9 vs Seattle Seahawks
As kind as the Seahawks were to ship Wilson out of the conference altogether, they really screwed up the Bobby Wagner situation. Seeing Wagner leaving Seattle was only a momentary delight since the All-Pro linebacker landed with the Los Angeles Rams. So far, then, the Seahawks have managed to torpedo their own season while juicing the consensus best team in the division and literal Super Bowl champions. Good work Seattle.
For years, those two players were the game-changers for Seattle; no matter how average the Seahawks roster looked, particularly defensively in the Post-Legion of Boom era, either Wilson or Wagner always elevated. Now, the depth of the Cardinals roster should prove far too much for a Seattle squad with its core ripped out. By Week 9, the Cardinals should be well in the swing of having Hopkins back in the fold, and will likely claim their second win over Seattle in Week 9. The Seahawks series will make up some of the Cardinals easiest games in 2022.
#1: Week 17 @ Atlanta Falcons
Playing the Atlanta Falcons in Week 17 will be one of the Cardinals easiest games in 2022, if not the easiest overall. Much like the Seahawks, the Falcons head into 2022 having undergone a seismic shift in the off-season. Matt Ryan is out, disrespected by Atlanta’s play for Deshaun Watson, and rightly so. Atlanta’s quarterback situation, so long a pillar of reliability on the roster, is not in complete flux. The squad looks to be running with Marcus Mariota to kick things off, drafting promising Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder as competition. Neither is going to be a revelation this season.
They took the first receiver in the draft in USC’s Drake London, and he projects for some early success in the NFL, boasting a great physical profile. However, the Falcons gambled on the Watson sweepstakes and it cost them their quarterback and their stability. Anything they can get out of this season is a plus, but the Cardinals will be one of the stronger teams that Atlanta face in 2022; Arizona will have no problem dispatching the Falcons in Week 17.
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