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 games (9-16). In this article the easiest games on the 2020 Arizona Cardinals schedule are the focus.
Arizona Cardinals Easiest Games in 2020
9. Week 17 at Los Angeles Rams
The final game of the Arizona Cardinals regular season is the second meeting with the Los Angeles Rams. The Cardinals will visit the brand new SoFi stadium but wins against the Rams have been limited in recent times. Since the Rams returned to Los Angeles from St. Louis the Cardinals have recorded only one victory. The Rams may be different offensively after losing both Brandin Cooks and Todd Gurley this off-season, but they are still a formidable opponent. After drafting both Cam Akers and Van Jefferson in the second round the Rams could still find success against a Cardinals defense that allowed the most yards per game last season.
10. Week 13 vs Los Angeles Rams
These two division rivals meet up twice in the last five weeks of the season with the results possibly having implications on whether either franchise will be playing postseason football. The Week 13 matchup at State Farm stadium might to be the easier of the two for the Arizona Cardinals since it is at home. The Rams also aren’t the same team that went to the Super bowl two seasons ago. They have lost Dante Fowler, Cory Littleton and Nickell Robey-Coleman on defense and that could help the Cardinals offense capitalize on key plays and put enough points on the board to get a win at home.
11. Week 4 at Carolina Panthers
In Week 4 of the regular season the Arizona Cardinals will take on a new look Carolina Panthers defense. The Panthers made history during the draft as they became the only team to use every pick in a seven round draft on defensive players. This was urgently needed after they lost Luke Kuechly, especially since they allowed the fourth most rushing yards last season. The Panthers still have a game changer on offense in running back Christian McCaffrey. If the Cardinals can stuff the Panthers running game and limit McCaffrey’s effectiveness with additions Jordan Phillips and Isaiah Simmons they could handily beat Carolina’s youthful defense.
12. Week 5 at New York Jets
The final matchup of an early four game stretch against teams that went under .500 in 2019 happens in Week 5 against the New York Jets. This will be only the tenth meeting between the two franchises with the Jets having the upper hand in those contests. In addition, the Jets will be looking for revenge from their last meeting (2016) where the Cardinals didn’t allow a single touchdown. Jets quarterback Sam Darnold will be looking for a breakout year with the additional protection Mekhi Becton brings. But, Arizona’s offense, with Kenyan Drake and Kyler Murray can prey on the New York Jets poor rush defense, which ranked second worst in rushing yards allowed per game in 2019.
13. Week 9 vs Miami Dolphins
After a bye week the Arizona Cardinals will welcome a Miami Dolphins team that was working to rebuild during the 2020 draft. Miami also utilized the large cap space they had by signing Kyle Van Noy, Byron Jones and Shaq Lawson to bolster a defense that allowed an average of 30 points per game last year. The cornerbacks of Miami will be an intriguing matchup against the Cardinals wide receiver core but Arizona will be fresh off a bye and should win fairly easily.
14. Week 14 at New York Giants
Intrigue will be high as two second year quarterbacks will face off in this late season meeting. Daniel Jones showed flashes of potential in his rookie year and with a healthy Saquon Barkley the Giants can definitely score points. Defense was largely the issue in 2019 as the Giants allowed 28 points per game. This doesn’t bold well for the Giants as they matchup against an exciting offense which just added one of the best wide receivers in the league. This game may end up being a must win for Arizona as it occurs in the middle of an eight game stretch containing five teams who made the playoffs last year and back-to-back games against the Rams.
15. Week 2 vs Washington Redskins
After facing Super bowl runners-up in Week one the Cardinals take on the Washington Redskins in Week two. That matchup is one of two back-to-back home games early in the season that the Cardinals will view as must wins. Washington added elite rookie edge rusher Chase Young in the 2020 draft to an already feared defensive line which now consists of three first-round picks. Kyler Murray will have to release the ball quickly or be efficient at getting out of the pocket in order to evade the Redskins pass rush. If he can, the Cardinals should be victorious.
16. Week 3 vs Detroit Lions
Game two of the aforementioned back-to-back home games is the meeting against the Detroit Lions. The Lions haven’t lost to the Cardinals since 2015. This will also be the matchup with the two worst defenses in terms of passing yards allowed per game during 2019. However, the Cardinals will favor their matchups on the outside. If Matthew Stafford can stay healthy and be available in Week 3 this game becomes more difficult, but Arizona should still pick up a win, and they’ll need to win these kinds of games in order to make the playoffs.
Click here to see the Cardinals most difficult games of the 2020 season.