The Cardinals are coming off of an 8-8 season, so they have a lot to prove. Last season’s record was an improvement from their 5-10-1 record the previous season. But the new Arizona Cardinals 2021 schedule, complete with 17 games, proves they have a tough road ahead of them to better their record this year and earn a playoff spot.
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury returns with quarterback Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins in tow, who both had a terrific season last year. The Cardinals had a busy off-season beefing up their roster with new additions like J.J. Watt and Rodney Hudson. If the team can start the season 5-2 again, but keep up the momentum all season long, they could land a spot in the playoffs as a wild card. If not, then coach Kingsbury’s job could be on the line.
Breaking Down The Cardinals 2021 Schedule
It’s the first time the NFL season consists of 17 games, making the journey to the Super Bowl just a little bit more difficult. The Arizona Cardinals 2021 schedule is full of playoff-caliber opponents, making it a challenging schedule for the newly rebuilt roster.
The Cardinals 2021 schedule is the 14th hardest schedule in the NFL according to the NFL’s strength of schedule rankings. Many analysts and sportsbooks such as William Hill and BetMGM have the Cardinals going 9-8 this season, which isn’t much of an improvement from last season but might just be enough to get them back to the playoffs for the first time since losing the NFC Championship in 2015.
Cardinals 2021 Schedule
NFL Week 1: Arizona Cardinals At Tennessee Titans
The Cardinals open up the season as -2.5 underdogs on the road against the Tennessee Titans. Arizona’s defense will be put to the test thanks to the Titans’ running back, Derrick Henry, who rushed for over 2,000 yards last season.
Week 2: Arizona Cardinals Vs. Minnesota Vikings
The Cardinals are currently -1.5 underdogs for their season home opener against the Minnesota Vikings, which are expected to be a much-approved team from last year. Plus, it will be the first time former Cardinals cornerback, Patrick Petersen, returns to Arizona with his new team.
Week 3: Arizona Cardinals At Jacksonville Jaguars
The Cardinals are on the road again in week three as they take on the Jaguars and their rookie quarterback (and number one overall draft pick), Trevor Lawrence, and their new tight-end, Tim Tebow.
Week 4: Arizona Cardinals At Los Angeles Rams
The Cardinals play their first division game on the road against the Los Angeles Rams. Playing the rams will be a little different this year since they switched up their quarterback and brought in Matt Stafford.
Week 5: Arizona Cardinals Vs. San Francisco 49ers
The Cardinals return home for their second division again, this week against the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers are expected to be much healthier this year, making them a tough opponent for the Cardinals.
Week 6: Arizona Cardinals At Cleveland Browns
The Cardinals travel to Cleveland in week six to take on another AFC team on the road. Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield played at the same college as Kyler Murray, making it an Oklahoma Sooner showdown.
Week 7: Arizona Cardinals Vs. Houston Texans
For the first of Arizona’s back-to-back home games, DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt host their former team, the Houston Texans in week seven.
Week 8: Arizona Cardinals Vs. Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers visit the Cardinals on TNF for the Cardinals’ first primetime game this season. The Cardinals and Packers always deliver an exciting game, especially since they have battled it out many times in the playoffs.
Week 9: Arizona Cardinals At San Francisco 49ers
The Cardinals travel to San Francisco to play the 49ers for the second time this season. Depending on how healthy each team is, it could be a close and very meaningful game.
Week 10: Arizona Cardinals Vs. Carolina Panthers
The Cardinals are back home in week 10 to take on the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers ended up taking out the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship in 2015, the last time the Cardinals were in the playoffs.
Week 11: Arizona Cardinals At Seattle Seahawks
Week 11 will be the first meeting for division rivals the Cardinals and Seahawks. With Russell Wilson back leading the Hawks, it will be another exciting division game.
Week 12: Bye Week
Week 13: Arizona Cardinals At Chicago Bears
Coming off their bye week, Arizona is on the road to take on the Chicago Bears. This is sort of a revenge game for the Cardinals since the Bears ended up winning the last NFC playoff spot over the Cardinals last season.
Week 14: Arizona Cardinals Vs. Los Angeles Rams
The Arizona Cardinals host their second primetime game in week 14 on MNF against the Los Angeles Rams. As a division game late in the season, this game could play a huge role in the Cardinals’ playoff chances.
Week 15: Arizona Cardinals At Detroit Lions
The Cardinals will play against former division rival quarterback, Jared Goff, on the road in week 15.
Week 16: Arizona Cardinals Vs. Indianapolis Colts
The Cardinals host the Indianapolis Colts on Christmas night for a primetime showdown. As of now, it is predicted to be a close game with the Cardinals as -1.5 underdogs.
Week 17: Arizona Cardinals At Dallas Cowboys
The Cardinals travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys in week 17. Anytime the Cardinals play the Cowboys, you can expect a thrilling game. Especially if Cowboys’ quarterback Dak Prescott can stay healthy this year.
Week 18: Arizona Cardinals Vs. Seattle Seahawks
The Cardinals end the season at home against division rivals, the Seattle Seahawks. If they have already captured a playoff spot, you can be sure they will rest their starters.
Cardinals Winning Odds
With the Cardinals projected to win nine games, they are hoping to have the fourth-most wins in the NFC, which would guarantee them a playoff spot. It might be a wild card spot due to the NFC West being a tough division and the San Francisco 49ers as favorites to win the division. There are only three other NFC teams who are projected to win more games this season, the San Francisco 49ers, the Green Bay Packers, and Super Bowl 55 Champs, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It is worth noting that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have one of the easiest schedules this year and are right behind the Kansas City Chiefs as favorites to win the Super Bowl by nearly every sportsbook.
As for the rest of the NFC West, the Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks are projected to win eight games, even though many sportsbooks have the Rams in the top five teams favored to win the Super Bowl this year. DraftKings currently have the Rams at +1300 to win the Super Bowl.
Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is expected to be on target for over 1,400 receiving yards. Christian Kirk is also returning to the team to help the offense and the Cardinals added A.J. Green to give more weapons to quarterback Kyler.
DraftKings has the Cardinals at +600 to win the NFC West division and +2000 to win the NFC Championship. They sit near the bottom of the Super Bowl contenders list at +4000.
Cardinals Super Bowl Odds
The Cardinals Super Bowl odds started at +5,000, but with some major roster changes thanks to free-agent signings and trades, DraftKings now have them at +4000 to win the Super Bowl. The release of the Cardinals 2021 schedule also played a part, with them hoping to earn a trip to the playoffs.
A Super Bowl win for the Arizona Cardinals is a dream for the team and their fans, but at least making it to the playoffs is a step to a successful run, especially since they haven’t been back to the playoffs since 2015.
Cardinals 2021 Schedule: Games To Watch
NFC West division games are always close and worth watching. This season, the Cardinals will be battling a healthy 49ers roster and a new quarterback for the Rams. Even though they are expected to win only three division games, they can still win enough games to clinch a wild card playoff spot.
The Cardinals are hosting three primetime games this season. They take on the Green Bay Packers on Thursday Night Football in October and then division rivals, the Los Angeles Rams, come into town for Monday Night Football in December. One of the most-watched games for the Cardinals this year will most likely be their night game on Christmas, where they play against the Indianapolis Colts.
Three road games are expected to be entertaining matchups this season for the Cardinals. Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray both played for the Oklahoma Sooners and will be facing each other in week six when Arizona travels to Cleveland.
In week 13, the Cardinals travel to play the Chicago Bears. Last season, the remaining NFC playoff spot came down to the Cardinals or the Bears. The Bears ended up winning the spot, making this game a comeback for the Cardinals.
The Cardinals were used to playing quarterback Jared Goff when he was the starter on the Rams. Now that he is on the Lions, it will be interesting to see the Cardinals play against Goff at his new home when the Cardinals travel to Detroit to take on the Lions in week 15.
The key to a successful season for the Arizona Cardinals is for the team to stay healthy and avoid questionable coaching calls. The Arizona Cardinals need to play aggressively, but smart in such a competitive division.