When the NFL released its 2010 schedule Tuesday afternoon, NFL.com was quick to rank the Arizona Cardinals with the #32 hardest schedule. The two-time defending NFC West Champions may just have a caught a break in 2010 as the team rebuilds after an epidemic of off-season departures.
While some might wonder how the Cardinals caught such a great break, one needs to only look at the NFL Scheduling formula, which works to create uniformity and consistency throughout the league. In 2010, the Cardinals face their traditional NFC West opponents (Seattle, St. Louis, San Francisco) twice; the NFC South (Atlanta, Carolina, New Orleans, Tampa Bay); the AFC West (San Diego, Denver, Kansas City, Oakland) and two other NFC teams that finished in the same spot (first) in their respective divisions (Dallas and Minnesota).
Cardinals marketing officials have to be happy with home games with the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints, the Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos. The Cardinals coaching staff has to be pleased that despite playing three of their first four games on the road, the team faces relatively weak opponents in the Rams, Raiders and Falcons.
Additional insights about the 2010 Arizona Cardinals Schedule:
- Of the Cardinals 13 opponents (they play the Rams, Seahawks and 49ers twice), only FOUR were in the playoffs last season (New Orleans, Minnesota, Dallas, San Diego).
- In past seasons, the Cardinals had trouble going to the East Coast for games. In 2010, the Cardinals likely won’t have many travel worries. They only travel East twice (Atlanta and Carolina) and visit teams in the mid-west twice (Minnesota and Kansas City).
- For the third straight season, the Cardinals will face the San Francisco 49ers on ESPN Monday Night Football. After being swept by San Francisco last season, Arizona faces the 49ers at home on November 29, then caps of the season traveling to the Bay Area for what could be a crucial season-ending contest on January 2.
- This will be the second time the Cardinals play on Christmas. The last time was in 1995 also against the Dallas Cowboys in Buddy Ryan’s final game as Arizona Coach.
The Cardinals ticket office has indicated that some season tickets are still available for 2010, but that interest is very strong. For more details, visit the Cardinals website at www.AZCardinals.com
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