2021 Arizona Cardinals Schedule: Full Listing of Dates, Times and TV InfoMay 12, 2021
If the arrival of J.J. Watt and A.J. Green taught us anything about the Arizona Cardinals, it's that they like dudes who use their initials as their names.
Oh, and they're also committed to being a playoff team right now.
You don't sign experienced Pro Bowlers without aspirations to make a deep run into the postseason. The Cardinals paid a premium price for win-now talent, and they hope guys like Watt and Green and natural progression for the roster elsewhere will put them over the hump.
Arizona finished 8-8 last season and blew its shot at a postseason berth with back-to-back losses in Weeks 16 and 17. The arrival of DeAndre Hopkins gave Kyler Murray a bona fide No. 1 receiver, and the second-year quarterback became one of the most dynamic dual-threats in the sport, but they scored just 17 points over the final two weeks of the season.
Kliff Kingsbury, a controversial hire in 2019, will be entering his third season and may start to see his seat get warm if the Cardinals don't compete for a division championship. The 2015 season with Texas Tech was the last time he went above .500 as a head coach.
Here's a look at what to expect from the Cardinals in 2021.
Arizona Cardinals 2021 Schedule
The Cardinals have an above-average schedule strength, but that's to be expected. The NFC West is either the best or second-best division in football, competing only with the AFC North. Every team in this division expects to make the playoffs in 2021. The San Francisco 49ers, now equipped with rookie quarterback Trey Lance, are the only team with a built-in excuse not to make the postseason.
The Los Angeles Rams used two first-round picks to add Matthew Stafford via trade, and the Seattle Seahawks have an unsettled Russell Wilson to please. There are no easy games within the division, which means every NFC West team will be banking on its ability to handle things in non-divisional games.
Arizona gets the benefit of playing a third-place schedule, which sounds better on paper than it is in reality. The Dallas Cowboys are the NFC East's most talented team and only finished third last season after an injury to Dak Prescott. The Panthers are patiently building a well-rounded roster of their own in Carolina. Arizona's 17th game is against a Cleveland Browns team that has Super Bowl aspirations.
The Cardinals do get games against the Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans, but those are common divisional opponents. Their road to making the playoffs is simply being very good at football.
Arizona has to take care of business against Detroit, Jacksonville and Houston. Those are three of the five worst teams in the NFL. There can't be any errors there.
Aside from those wins, it's hard to find a scenario in which the Cardinals are much better than they were last season. They'll likely walk into at least six of their nine road games as underdogs, along with at least one home game (vs. the Green Bay Packers). Right there you're starting out with a 10-7 base point, without any forgiveness for an occasional egg.
Luckily, the rest of the NFC West faces the same difficulties as the Cardinals. So Arizona's main avenue toward getting to the playoffs is simply winning the division; 10-7 might get things done if the Seahawks