The Arizona Cardinals 2021 schedule, along with the rest of the NFL’s, was released on Wednesday 12 May.
Beginning with a Week 1 match-up against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday September 12, the Cardinals go on to play one of the toughest schedules in the NFL. I can call it ‘tough’ because not only do they live in arguably the most competitive division in the league, the first half of their schedule sees them playing a series of 2020 playoff teams, teams that underachieved last year, and young teams with a spark under them.
The team has a particularly tough away schedule, with two trips to the Eastern Conference time zone in their first three games. The toughest away game on the Cardinals schedule, however, is their Week 11 match-up against the Seattle Seahawks.
The division foes will be battling it out on Sunday, November 21 at Lumen Field, home of the Seahawks.
Lumen Field has arguably one of the loudest fan roars when the Seahawks are playing, having held the the Guinness World Record twice over the past twenty years. This is arguably enough to give the Seahawks an obvious advantage and make any outing for the Cardinals a challenge, however, what makes this Week 11 contest tough has more to do with match-ups and the difficulty of Arizona’s overall schedule.
Playing a team within a division is always a little more difficult. Yes, you have more tape on them… but they also have it on you. When these teams played each other last year, they were both quite predictable. Head Coach Cliff Kingsberry and the Cardinals tried to out throw their opponent, while Head Coach Pete Carrol and the Seahawks were, as they always are, conflicted in finding a balanced running/passing attack.
With the Cardinals putting out an even weaker secondary than last year, I would imagine that Carrol would elect to ‘let Russ (Russell Wilson) cook’ much more this time around. Russel Wilson, the Seahawks’ starting quarterback, is also one of the only few at his position in the NFL that can lessen the impact of the Cardinals’ athletic pass rushers and linebacking core with his elite elusiveness and speed in the backfield. I would expect the Seahawks to post close to 30 points. The question is – will the Cardinals match.
Vegas odd betters have the Cardinals winning eight games. With the new 17 game regular season, this win total will likely put the Cardinals right back to where they were last year – clawing at a wild card spot. Week 11 is so crucial to the way Arizona’s season will play out, because the outcome of this game could determine if they are above .500 following a ten game stretch where winning five-six is possible but not a lock.
In such a competitive division, and the San Francisco 49ers unlikely to lose as many games as they did last year, every internal bout is critical in ensuring that they’re one of the likely two NFC West teams to reach ten wins.
Looking back, at the end of the 2021 regular season, we could see this game as pivotal in catapulting the Cardinals out of mediocrity, above .500 and hopefully, just hopefully, into the playoffs.