Arizona Cardinals Schedule 2014: Win-Loss Predictions for Every Game

Tyson Langland@TysonNFLNFC West Lead WriterApril 24, 2014

Arizona Cardinals Schedule 2014: Win-Loss Predictions for Every Game

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    The much anticipated 2014 regular-season schedule was just released for the Arizona Cardinals and 31 other NFL organizations.

    Even though the Cardinals' regular-season opponents have been known since January, the dates, times and network coverages were released today at 8 p.m. ET.

    Here is a complete look at the 2014 schedule with game-by-game predictions, information and analysis.

Week 1: Cardinals vs. San Diego Chargers

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    Monday, Sept. 8

    Kickoff Time: 10:20 p.m. Eastern

    Network: ESPN


    The San Diego Chargers were a weird team last year. They would beat the Denver Broncos of the world one week and completely bomb the following week. Yet, that's the way the Chargers have always been—streaky.

    You could say that gives the Cardinals the upper hand heading into this game, but that's not necessarily true. And I say that because the Chargers usually play up to their level of competition. That fact right there should scare Arizona. 

    The Chargers will hang around just long enough in this one to get the victory. It happens every year Week 1—a less talented team knocks off a more talented team on the road. 


    Prediction: Loss

Week 2: Cardinals at New York Giants

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    Sunday, Sept. 14

    Kickoff Time: 1 p.m. Eastern

    Network: Fox


    What a difference a few years makes. In 2011, the New York Giants were on their way to the Super Bowl, while the Cardinals were wondering if Ken Whisenhunt would be their head coach in 2012. 

    Despite the fact the Giants captured their second Super Bowl title under Tom Coughlin in 2011, you could easily say the Cardinals are the more stable team at this point in time. Arizona will back up that claim when it plays New York this season.

    The Cardinals will get after quarterback Eli Manning with exotic blitz packages and stop the Giants' new-look running game dead in its tracks. Traveling across the country will be an obstacle, yet it won't be a big enough obstacle to fall to the Giants.


    Prediction: Win

Week 3: Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers

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    Sunday, Sept. 21

    Kickoff Time: 4:05 p.m. Eastern

    Network: Fox


    As good as the San Francisco 49ers have been in years past (three straight NFC Championship games), the Cardinals are ready to knock them off for the first time since the 2011 season. 

    Aside from the fact Arizona got better on both sides of the ball, San Francisco's talent level has decreased. The 49ers defense regressed with the loss of Donte Whitner, Frank Gore isn't the same running back he once was and the wide receiving corps is still in question. 

    The 49ers' decline will play right into the Cardinals' hands. Carson Palmer, Andre Ellington, Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd will come out firing and jump all over Vic Fangio's defense. Teams rarely blow San Francisco out, but that's exactly what Arizona will do in the desert.


    Prediction: Win 

Week 5: Cardinals at Denver Broncos

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    Sunday, Oct. 5

    Kickoff Time: 4:05 p.m. Eastern

    Network: Fox


    When the Denver Broncos get routed in the Super Bowl by the Seattle Seahawks, John Elway took immediate action. At the start of free agency, he brought in two Pro Bowl players, upgraded the wide receiving corps with Emmanuel Sanders and provided Jack Del Rio's defense with an All-Pro edge-rusher.

    When you couple those moves with the firepower Denver already had, it's safe to say the Broncos will represent the AFC in the Super Bowl for the second straight season.

    Yes, the Cardinals made improvements too, but the Broncos are in a league of their own. There's no way Arizona touches Denver in Denver. Peyton Manning will overwhelm Todd Bowles' defense. And the Cardinals offense won't be able to keep pace; coming off the bye week won't help.


    Prediction: Loss

Week 6: Cardinals vs. Washington Redskins

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    Sunday, Oct. 12

    Kickoff Time: 4:25 p.m. Eastern

    Network: Fox


    Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder has proven to be one of the worst owners in the NFL. He overspends in free agency, hires the wrong coaches and doesn't build his team through the draft.

    However, something must have clicked with him this year. Why? Because he didn't overspend in free agency, he hired the right head coach (Jay Gruden) and is looking to add key players in the draft. Yet, that doesn't change the fact that the Redskins are still a couple years away from competing.

    The Cardinals have arrived. They expect to win the NFC West and go to the Super Bowl. This is why they will make quick work of the Redskins in Arizona. Carson Palmer will carve up Washington's weak secondary, and Andre Ellington will rattle off big plays out of the backfield. 


    Prediction: Win 

Week 7: Cardinals at Oakland Raiders

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    Sunday, Oct. 19

    Kickoff Time: 4:25 p.m. Eastern

    Network: Fox


    For years, the Oakland Raiders have been the laughing stock of the NFL. They haven't registered a 10-plus-win season since 2002, they go through coaches faster than any other team in the league and free agents often avoid the black hole like it's the plague. 

    However, it appears as if things are changing in Oakland. The Raiders brought key players in at key positions in free agency and traded for a Pro Bowl quarterback in Matt Schaub. The only problem is a high percentage of their offseason additions are at the tail end of their careers. 

    Arizona, on the other hand, is a team that has strong mix of players young and old. This mix will help the Cardinals be victorious against the Raiders. Younger players with talent are often the deciding factor late in games because they have fresh legs.


    Prediction: Win

Week 8: Cardinals vs. Philadelphia Eagles

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    Sunday, Oct. 26

    Kickoff Time: 4:05 p.m. Eastern

    Network: Fox


    You have to give credit where credit is due. The Philadelphia Eagles rose from the ashes in 2013. They put their awful 2012 season behind them and turned things around with Chip Kelly at the helm. In addition to making the playoffs, Philadelphia found a new signal-caller, improved its defense and revived Riley Cooper's career. 

    Yet, those three things don't exactly spell success for the Eagles in 2014. It's a new year, and the Cardinals made plenty of moves as well. Moreover, let's not forget, Arizona nearly beat Philadelphia in front of its home crowd last season.

    Much like the their road game in St. Louis, the Cardinals had the opportunities to win. They just didn't capitalize. One should expect them to capitalize and learn from their mistakes when they host the Eagles this year. 


    Prediction: Win

Week 9: Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys

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    Sunday, Nov. 2

    Kickoff Time: 1 p.m. Eastern

    Network: Fox


    On an annual basis, it seems like the Dallas Cowboys are one of the best teams on paper. That's definitely not the case this year. The Cowboys' front seven regressed, their secondary stayed the same and the offensive line continues to lack talent. 

    The only thing keeping the Cowboys afloat is their linebacking corps and quarterback Tony Romo. Honestly, that's not much.

    This may be a road game for the Cardinals, but they are the favorites in this matchup. Carson Palmer will have all day to throw, Andre Ellington and Stepfan Taylor will crush the interior of the Cowboys' defense and John Abraham will have a party in the backfield. 


    Prediction: Win 

Week 10: Cardinals vs. St. Louis Rams

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    Sunday, Nov. 9

    Kickoff Time: 4:25 p.m. Eastern

    Network: Fox


    The Cardinals may have trounced the Rams 30-10 last year in Arizona, but that's not saying a lot considering Sam Bradford was on the sidelines with a torn ACL. This year's game will prove to be entirely different. 

    Bradford will be back under center, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey will have a better grasp of the playbook and the back end of the Rams' defense won't be a liability (assuming they draft a safety). Plus, Zac Stacy will be looking to improve upon a stellar rookie season. 

    The improvement in all three phases for St. Louis should force a close game in Arizona. The Cardinals will have to eliminate mistakes, keep Robert Quinn off Carson Palmer and stack the box in an effort to slow Stacy down. 

    As much as I like the Cardinals in front of their home crowd, I have an eerie feeling the Rams are talented enough to split the season series and steal a game of the road.


    Prediction: Loss

Week 11: Cardinals vs. Detroit Lions

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    Sunday, Nov. 16

    Kickoff Time: 4:25 p.m. Eastern

    Network: Fox


    After a late-season meltdown in 2013, the Detroit Lions' front office staff decided it was time to make a change, so they fired Jim Schwartz and replaced him with Jim Caldwell. Replacing Schwartz needed to happen, but they may have hired the wrong head coach.

    Fans felt the hire was underwhelming. Without question, the fans were right. The Lions took a step back schematically. This, in turn, will cause Detroit to be outdone from an X's and O's standpoint. 

    The Cardinals will be one of the teams that outsmarts the Lions, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Todd Bowles will attack Matthew Stafford and force him into making the same mistakes he always makes.


    Prediction: Win 

Week 12: Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks

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    Sunday, Nov. 23

    Kickoff Time: 4:05 p.m. Eastern

    Network: Fox


    The Cardinals' late-season win at CenturyLink Field was a miracle. The Seahawks hadn't lost at home in ages, Palmer threw four costly interceptions and Seattle had garnered good starting field position on back-to-back drives late in the game. 

    Yet, based on that one win, one shouldn't expect the Cardinals to be favorites over the Seahawks in 2014. The Seahawks are still the superior team, especially at home, which means Pete Carroll's club will have the upper hand.

    Additionally, Seattle's 12th man plays a huge role on a weekly basis, and Marshawn Lynch likes to wear defenses down when the Seahawks have a lead. Seattle may have taken a small step back defensively, yet its offensive attack on the ground is as good as it has ever been. 


    Prediction: Loss

Week 13: Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons

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    Sunday, Nov. 30

    Kickoff Time: 4:05 p.m. Eastern

    Network: Fox


    In 2013, the Atlanta Falcons registered a 4-12 record, missed the playoffs for the first time since 2009 and suffered their first losing season under head coach Mike Smith. Yet, one shouldn't expect Atlanta to be down for too long. 

    The Falcons have too much ability not to succeed. Matt Ryan is an elite quarterback, Julio Jones is one of the five best pass-catchers in the NFL and their secondary is littered with playmakers. Sure, they could stand to bolster their front four, but what team couldn't?

    Even though the Cardinals beat the Falcons at their place last year, Atlanta won't let that happen in 2014. Ryan plays lights-out at home and Jones will be back to 100 percent.


    Prediction: Loss

Week 14: Cardinals vs. Kansas City Chiefs

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    Sunday, Dec. 7

    Kickoff Time: 4:05 p.m. Eastern

    Network: CBS


    It's hard not like what the Kansas City Chiefs did in 2013. They won 11 games, played sound defense and unleashed running back Jamaal Charles. The talent had always been there; the Chiefs just needed the right coach to maximize the team's talent.

    Andy Reid proved he was that guy. Yet, it's hard to see them winning 11 games in 2014. The schedule got tougher, the other three teams in the AFC West improved and the NFC West will hand them a couple losses.

    One of those two NFC West losses will come from the Cardinals. Arizona matches up with the Chiefs quite well. The Cardinals have the secondary to lock down the Chiefs' receivers and the necessary talent up front to stop Charles.

    As potent as the Chiefs' offense was in 2013, Kansas City will struggle to score in Arizona. That will be the deciding factor.


    Prediction: Win 

Week 15: Cardinals at St. Louis Rams

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    Thursday, Dec. 11

    Kickoff Time: 8:25 p.m. Eastern

    Network: NFL Network


    The Cardinals opened the season on a sour note last year. Carson Palmer took too many sacks, the Rams' Jared Cook ran wild and the offensive side of the ball couldn't move the ball after halftime. That's a disaster right there. 

    The good news is that Bruce Arians won't let that happen this year. When the Cardinals travel to St. Louis, Arizona will be a well-oiled machine. It will be more consistent, make more plays and perform better against St. Louis' tight ends.

    No NFC West game is easy, but the Cardinals already know that. They have more playmakers than the Rams, which will ultimately allow them to steal a game on the road. Sometimes, talent trumps all the other variables.


    Prediction: Win

Week 16: Cardinals vs. Seattle Seahawks

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    Sunday, Dec. 21

    Kickoff Time: 8:30 p.m. Eastern

    Network: NBC


    On Thursday Night Football last year, the Seattle Seahawks dominated the Cardinals. The pass rush got after Carson Palmer, Marshawn Lynch did enough to wear Arizona's front seven down and Russell Wilson effectively utilized the play-action pass.

    The culmination of those three things had the Cardinals begging for mercy by the time the clock struck zero.

    However, things are setting up to be completely different this time around. Arizona improved on both sides of the ball this offseason, Seattle's pass rush took a step back and wide receiver Golden Tate is now a member of the Detroit Lions.

    Those factors alone will prove to be the difference as long as Palmer protects the football and plays the way he did late in the season last year. Furthermore, Ellington's expanded role in the offense should help make him more of a threat as well.


    Prediction: Win 

Week 17: Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers

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    Sunday, Dec. 28

    Kickoff Time: 4:25 p.m. Eastern

    Network: Fox


    The 49ers' defense may not be the dominant force it once was with the loss of Donte Whitner and Carlos Rogers, yet that doesn't change the fact that San Francisco plays well at home. Over the course of the last two years, the 49ers have only lost three times in front of their home crowd. 

    Between two evenly matched teams (49ers and Cardinals), home-field advantage could end up being the difference. Arizona will battle San Francisco like it did twice last year, but Frank Gore will wear the Cardinals' front seven down and Colin Kaepernick will deliver a kill shot late in the game to seal Arizona's fate. 


    Prediction: Loss

    Final Record: 10-6