Arizona Cardinals: Ranking the Importance of Each Road Game in 2012
Playing on the road is no easy task.
Like every other team, the Arizona Cardinals will have eight regular season games outside of the desert this season. There are a lot of key matchups that will take place away from home, and Arizona must improve on its two road wins from 2011.
8. Minnesota Vikings
Adam Bettcher/Getty Images
The Arizona Cardinals will get to return to Minnesota in Week 7 after being blown out by the Vikings last season.
This is a game that the Cardinals should definitely win, and there are a few players from last year’s team who may want revenge.
Arizona has four fairly easy games between Week 4 and Week 7 before having to play San Francisco. The Cardinals need to take advantage of this part of their schedule.
7. Atlanta Falcons
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Following their Week 10 bye, the Cardinals travel to Atlanta in Week 11 to take on the Falcons.
The Falcons have a very potent offense, but with two weeks to game-plan, Ray Horton and company should be able to shut them down.
6. St. Louis Rams
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Despite being placed near the bottom of this list, the Week 5 contest against St. Louis is an important game for Arizona. Not only is it in St. Louis, but it is also being played on Thursday Night Football.
A loss could land the Cardinals in the NFC West basement, but a win here gives them a great opportunity to sweep the Rams.
Looking impressive in prime time is something Arizona must do if it wants any respect from fans and teams around the league.
5. Seattle Seahawks
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Playing in Seattle is never an easy task, but that is what the Cardinals will have to do in Week 14. Last year, Arizona lost 13-10 in Seattle, but the Cardinals were without both Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams.
This is the second game the two teams will play in 2012. Depending on how Week 1 goes, Arizona could be in line for a sweep.
It is a mystery how these teams will do this year, but they could both very well be fighting for a playoff spot.
A loss here is not the end of the world, but it would be great for the Cardinals to pick up the win before heading home.
4. New England Patriots
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
The Arizona Cardinals will travel to New England in Week 2. Unlike most, I am looking forward to this game.
There has been a lot of hype surrounding the Cardinals defense heading into 2012, and this will be their first tough task.
They are definitely not supposed to win this game, but it important that the Cardinals put up a good fight and stick it to one of the NFL’s most overrated quarterbacks.
3. Green Bay Packers
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Their second big test will come against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. This is a difficult part in the Cardinals' schedule, as they will be in Green Bay for Week 9 after hosting San Francisco in Week 8.
Similar to the Patriots game, Arizona will be taking on one of the best offenses in the league. The Packers should be the favorite in the NFC this year, and a win over them would be huge for the Cardinals.
This game gets the edge over the New England game, as it may have playoff implications.
2. New York Jets
Peter Aiken/Getty Images
Considering that John Skelton was the Tebow of the NFC last season, it will be interesting to see who comes out on top.
Furthermore, a loss to Arizona would certainly derail the Jets. This New York team is a mess right now, and the Cardinals must take advantage of this in Week 13.
1. San Francisco 49ers
Norm Hall/Getty Images
The two most important games of the year come against the San Francisco 49ers. The game in San Francisco is the final regular season game that each team will play in the upcoming season.
This is an extremely important matchup for the Cardinals, as the Week 17 contest could determine whether or not they make the playoffs.
It is also a big game for the NFC West as a whole, because if the 49ers continue their 2011 play, then this division may send two teams to the playoffs.