Arizona Cardinals schedule takeaways:
- Coming off a busy offseason, the Cardinals will open up the 2021 season with a tremendous Week 1 game against the Tennessee Titans.
- Arizona has three nationally-televised primetime games, including a Christmas Night outing against the Indianapolis Colts on NFL Network.
- Sportsnaut predicts that the Cardinals will finish with a 8-9 record.
Arizona made several big moves in free agency, adding A.J. Green and J.J. Watt. They also swung a blockbuster trade to help Kyler Murray, acquiring standout center Rodney Hudson to bolster the offensive line.
With an improved roster taking the field in 2021, let’s dive into the Cardinals’ schedule and our 2021 game-by-game predictions.
Arizona Cardinals schedule predictions, roster outlook
Let’s take a look at the team’s complete 2021 schedule and make predictions for each game.
Cardinals roster outlook
- QB — Kyler Murray
- RB — James Conner, Chase Edmonds
- WR — DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green, Christian Kirk, Rondale Moore (rookie)
- TE — Maxx Williams, Darrell Daniels
- Defense — Cardinals ranked 13th in the NFL this week
The primary focus in Arizona this season will be on seeing Murray improve under center after two solid years to open his career. He has a ton of weapons, including one of the game’s top wide receivers in that of DeAndre Hopkins. The additions of fellow pass-catchers A.J. Green and Rondale Moore as well as running back James Conner should help here.
In what promises to be an ultra-competitive NFC West, how Arizona performs on defense will be telling. Is the addition of J.J. Watt going to be enough to overcome a questionable secondary? Meanwhile, there’s a darn good chance that All-Pro edge rusher Chandler Jones won’t be with the team as he continues a holdout from offseason activities due to a contract stalemate. How that situation plays out will be telling heading into the 2021 season.
Arizona Cardinals 2021 preseason schedule
|Friday, Aug. 13||vs. Dallas Cowboys||9:00 PM||KPNX (CHANNEL 12)|
|Friday, Aug. 20||vs. Kansas City Chiefs||7:00 PM||ESPN|
|Saturday, Aug. 28||@ New Orleans Saints||7:00 PM||KPNX (CHANNEL 12)|
This season the NFL is lowering the amount of preseason games to three per team, and instead expanding the regular season to 17 games, rather than the traditional 16 games.
Week 1 — @ Tennessee Titans
|Sunday, Sept. 12||1:00 PM||CBS|
- Spread: Titans -2.5
- Moneyline: Cardinals +125, Titans -152
- Over/under: 51.5
Can Arizona expect to stop two-time reigning NFL rushing champion Derrick Henry in an otherwise even matchup? We’re not 100% sure after its defense finished in the bottom 11 stopping the run in 2020. What we do know is that the Cardinals’ offense is likely going to step up this season. Will that be enough to off-set the Titans adding Julio Jones to the mix? I am not too sure.
- Week 1 prediction: Titans 24, Cardinals 20
Week 2 — vs. Minnesota Vikings
|Sunday, Sept. 19||4:05 PM||FOX|
The Patrick Peterson revenge game. After spending the first 10 years of his Hall of Fame worthy career in the desert, the cornerback signed with Minnesota during the offseason. Despite a regressing skillset, we fully expect Peterson to come to play here. If so, look for an upset Cardinals home loss.
- Week 2 prediction: Vikings 28, Cardinals 24
Week 3 — @ Jacksonville Jaguars
|Sunday, Sept. 26||1:00 PM||FOX|
Trevor Lawrence against Kyler Murray. Two of the past four No. 1 overall picks. Two quarterbacks who do things in very different ways. The expectation is that Jacksonville’s offense will be stellar under Lawrence in 2021. It will make for some awesome high-scoring games. Don’t expect this to be an exception to the rule come Week X with the Jags coming out on top in Duval.
- Week 3 prediction: Jaguars 31, Cardinals 28
Week 4 — @ Los Angeles Rams
|Sunday, Oct. 3||4:05 PM||FOX|
The Cardinals are just 6-10 away from Arizona during the Kingsbury era. Meanwhile, Los Angeles has won 23 of 32 homes games under Sean McVay. That does not bode well for the Cardinals’ changes in this X matchup. With the Rams set to play in front of a sold out audience in their new stadium, this should make a difference.
- Week 4 prediction: Rams 28, Cardinals 23
Week 5 — vs. San Francisco 49ers
|Sunday, Oct. 10||4:25 PM||FOX|
Surprisingly, Arizona has lost each of its past two home game against the 49ers. Both came by one score with Kyler Murray struggling to do anything of substance. Don’t look for that trend to continue. This is a plus-level matchup for the Cards, especially with the likes of DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green and rookie Rondale Moore going up against a suspect cornerback group.
- Week 5 prediction: Cardinals 27, 49ers 23
Week 6 — @ Cleveland Browns
|Sunday, Oct. 17||4:05 PM||FOX|
This could very well be a statement game for Arizona against a legitimate title contender. Baker Mayfield has a ton of weapons on offense. Cleveland’s defense is vastly improved from a season ago. That’s going to be the different in what promises to be a close game in Ohio.
- Week 6 prediction: Browns 31, Cardinals 24
Week 7 — vs. Houston Texans
|Sunday, Oct. 24||4:25 PM||CBS|
Oh boy. DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt going up against their former team. The two future Hall of Famers doing so against a lackluster Texans squad that might be the worst team in the NFL. Hosting Houston in Week X, we’re expecting the most lopsided game on the Arizona Cardinals schedule in 2021.
- Week 7 prediction: Cardinals 38, Texans 10
Week 8 — vs. Green Bay Packers (TNF)
|Thursday, Oct. 28||8:20 PM||NFLN/FOX|
It’s going to be all about the status of Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. Right now, it sure looks like the unhappy quarterback will be calling another city home in 2021. If so, that will be a boon for Arizona when it hosts the Packers in Week X. Look for a big conference win in this one.
- Week 8 prediction: Cardinals 27, Packers 20
Week 9 — @ San Francisco 49ers
|Sunday, Nov. 7||4:25 PM||FOX|
The 49ers and Cardinals continue to play narrow games against one another. Since Kyle Shanahan took over in San Francisco back in 2017, the two teams have seen a total of an nine-point differential in eight games. With San Francisco and Arizona evenly matched, we’re predicting the home team to come out on top here.
- Week 9 prediction: 49ers 28, Cardinals 24
Week 10 — vs. Carolina Panthers
|Sunday, Nov. 14||4:05 PM||FOX|
It remains to be seen how Sam Darnold will perform now that his lackluster career with the New York Jets is over. What we do know is that Carolina’s greenish defense gave up 28 touchdown passes against seven interceptions a season ago. Look for Kyler Murray to cook in this one, helping Arizona maintain homefield.
- Week 10 prediction: Cardinals 24, Panthers 20
Week 11 — @ Seattle Seahawks
|Sunday, Nov. 21||4:25 PM||FOX|
There’s a decent chance that the NFC West will have three playoff teams in 2021. That’s why these divisional matchups as such a big deal. It’s also why Arizona should have some confidence heading in. Unfortunately, Russell Wilson has torn apart this defense to the tune of 30 total touchdowns against eight interceptions in 18 career starts. That’ll be the difference in this one.
- Week 11 prediction: Seahawks 30, Cardinals 24
WEEK 12 BYE
Week 13 — @ Chicago Bears
|Sunday, Dec. 5||1:00 PM||FOX|
If the Bears do indeed start Andy Dalton over rookie Justin Fields, it will be music to the ears of opposing teams. This will include a swarming Arizona defense that should have no real problem stopping a talent-stricken Bears offense come Week X.
- Week 13 prediction: Cardinals 23, Bears 17
Week 14 — vs. Los Angeles Rams (MNF)
|Monday, Dec. 13||8:15 PM||ESPN|
Obviously, the Rams’ addition of Matthew Stafford changes the dynamics here big time. It’s also important to note that Kliff Kingsbury is 0-4 in his Cardinals career against Los Angeles. This must change if the Cardinals want to compete for a playoff spot in 2021. Unfortunately, we just don’t see it happening. Primarily, the presence of Aaron Donald will impact Kyler Murray in this one.
- Week 14 prediction: Cardinals 27, Rams 23
Week 15 — @ Detroit Lions
|Sunday, Dec. 19||1:00 PM||FOX|
In reality, we have absolutely no idea who new Lions quarterback Jared Goff is going to throw the ball to. With that said, Goff boasted a 7-1 record and threw 11 touchdowns against three interceptions against the Cardinals during his career in Los Angeles. That type of history could signify an upset Lions home win.
- Week 15 prediction: Lions 23, Cardinals 19
Week 16 — vs. Indianapolis Colts (Christmas)
|Saturday, Dec. 25||8:15||NFL Network|
The Colts’ issues at wide receiver could come into play in this one. It will enable the Cardinals to focus primarily against the run while stacking the middle of the field with the likes of star defenders Budda Baker and Isaiah Simmons. That should be the difference in what will be a low-scoring game.
- Week 16 prediction: Cardinals 20, Colts 17
Week 17 — @ Dallas Cowboys
|Sunday, Jan. 2||1:00 PM||FOX|
Did the Cowboys improve their defense enough this offseason to be seen as a legitimate playoff threat? I seem to think so. In turn, it should help Mike McCarthy and Co. turn things around in close games after they posted a 4-4 record in one-score affairs last season. With a full house expected in Big D come Week 1, look for the Cowboys to come out on top.
- Week 17 prediction: Cowboys 27, Cardinals 23
Week 18 — vs. Seattle Seahawks
|Sunday, Jan. 9||4:25 PM||FOX|
The NFL West is going to be an absolute bloodbath in 2021. That’s why it’s important for the Cardinals to split their season series with each divisional opponent. Hosting Seattle in Week 1, we fully expect that to be the case for the Cardinals. Arizona is 2-2 against the Seahawks during the Kingsbury era with all four games being decided by one score. That will be the case in this one.
- Week 18 prediction: Cardinals 31, Seahawks 27