TEMPE, Ariz. — Any news in the NFL is big news — even if it’s pseudo news.
That’s what we got Thursday when the NFL released the 2013 schedule. We already knew the opponents, we already knew which teams were coming to University of Phoenix Stadium, we already knew which would be road opponents and we had a pretty good idea of the dates for a franchise that doesn’t land too many Saturday, Thursday or Monday games due to its lackluster recent performances.
But on Thursday, those dates were filled with real opponents — and a few things stood out.
The Cardinals will play one nationally televised, non-Sunday game when they host the Seahawks on Oct. 17 at 5:25 p.m. That game also falls in what appears to be the team’s toughest stretch of the season, a three-game slate just before the bye when the Cardinals travel to San Francisco, host Seattle, then host Atlanta. Those were arguably the three best teams in the NFC last season, and the Cards then come out of the bye to face Houston, which went 12-4 last season.
Three of new coach Bruce Arians’ first four games are on the road – at St. Louis, New Orleans and Tampa Bay – sandwiched around a home game against Detroit. That four-game stretch gives the team a chance for some momentum against four non-playoff teams from a year ago.
Arians will also reunite with his former team, the Colts, on Nov. 24 at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals close the season with games at Seattle and at home against the 49ers, two teams that are expected to contend for the Super Bowl this season.