In case you did not know, there is a method to the madness of creating an NFL schedule. What happens is that each team will play every opponent in their division twice, one at home and one on the road. They will also play a division within their conference – two games at home and two on the road. Teams will also play a division that is outside of their conference – two at home and two on the road. Finally teams will play two games against teams from the other two divisions that are within their conference. The teams that they play are determined on the previous years’ final standings. For example, if you are in the NFC East and you finish in second place in the division, you will play a team from the NFC South and NFC West that also finished in second place.
Did you get all of that?
Cardinals’ 2017 Schedule Breakdown
For the 2017 season, the Cardinals will play the AFC South and the NFC East. Based on last season’s numbers, there AFC South was the worst division in the league. The division did not have a double digit win team, and the Texans, who won the division, had a whopping -49 point differential. You read that right, MINUS.
I am still trying to figure out how that can happen.
The upside for the AFC South is that Andrew Luck is in the division, and Marcus Mariota is improving at a rapid pace. With JJ Watt returning from injury, the Texans’ defense should be at or near the top of the league.
I still don’t know what Jacksonville is doing.
The Cardinals schedule will feature Jacksonville and Tennessee at home. They will play Indianapolis and Houston on the road.
On the other hand, the NFC East is quite different. In 2016, they had two double digit win teams (Cowboys & Giants). They only had one team that finished under .500, (Eagles) and the NFC East was the only division where every team finished with a positive point differential. Based on last year’s numbers, this will be the toughest part of the schedule.
The Cardinals schedule will feature Dallas (Monday Night Football) and the NY Giants at home, while traveling to Philadelphia and Washington.
The remaining two games will be at Detroit and at home for Tampa Bay.
The Cardinals will host the Seahawks for their Thursday Night Football game (Nov. 9th) and they will travel to London on October 22nd to visit the Rams.
Of course you cannot predict what will happen from one year to the next, but on the surface, it would seem like a favorable schedule for the Cardinals this season. You do not play the games on paper, so it will be interesting to see how the season plays out.