Cardinals featured three times on’s “must-see matchups” for 2016 season

8-18 carson palmer in stance 3


GLENDALE, Ariz. – The beautiful thing about the annual release of the NFL’s regular season schedule – or even the pending release of it – is that we can speculate on how our favorite team(s) will do in a particular season, and we can formulate a win/loss record we feel suits that schedule, plus we can also key in on certain games that stick out to us – ones that peak our interest.

The Arizona Cardinals’ 2016 schedule is chock full of interesting matchups and storylines, starting on Sept. 11, as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots invade University of Phoenix Stadium, in the season opener on Sunday Night Football. That game just so happens to be the No. 3 must-see matchup of the 2016 season, according to NFL Media analyst Elliot Harrison, who put together the 16 matchups he’s most looking forward to. In fact, there are three Cardinals games on Harrison’s top-16, and here they are, with his comments on each of them:

#10) Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks

Week 16: Saturday, Dec. 24 at 2:25 p.m. AZ time on FOX

“Yep, this is a matchup we get every year — but tell me this isn’t Seahawks-49ers 2.0. It seems like forever ago, but there was no better division matchup in football than Seattle-San Francisco for about three years. Now Arizona is the new boss in the NFC West, and with the acquisition of Chandler Jones, the Cards look primed to repeat again. After all, pass rush was the certifiable weak spot on this team in 2015. Throw in the fact that the Seahawks have question marks on the offensive line, and it seems the advantage goes to Bruce Arians’ club. Of course, last time these two teams squared off, Seattle pasted the Cardinals in front of the Arizona crowd. Fans made excuses that the Week 17 game meant little to Arizona, but it was still an impressive smackdown. Looking forward to this clash.”

#9) Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers

Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 30 at 1:25 p.m. on FOX

“Speaking of the Cardinals, how about a little NFC Championship Game redux? OK, so this matchup was a complete dud in January. You know Arians will have his guys fired up to put that blowout loss firmly in the review. Carson Palmer has spoken about moving on from his woeful outing (six turnovers) — we’ll see what kind of resilience he has in this return to Charlotte. Remember, Arizona played that game without Tyrann Mathieu, a legit Defensive Player of the Year candidate before he went down in mid-December. (I would’ve voted for him over J.J. Watt, had Mathieu finished the year healthy.) Then again, Carolina fans can point to the fact their team played the whole season sans No. 1 receiver Kelvin Benjamin.”

#3) New England Patriots at Arizona Cardinals (Sunday Night Football)

Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 11 at 5:30 p.m. AZ time on NBC

“Interconference matchups are always interesting, because teams like the Patriots and Cardinals only play each other once every four years. Perhaps the most interesting aspect to this matchup, other than the fact that both teams lost in their respective conference championship games last season, is that it pits arguably the two most respected head coaches in the league against one another. Bill Belichick has only faced a Bruce Arians-coached team once, when the latter was pulling interim duty for the Colts in 2012. That day was a blowout in favor of New England, although ironically, the Patriots blew a home game earlier that season to Arians’ predecessor in Arizona, Ken Whisenhunt. This will be a tough road assignment for Tom Brady and a reshuffled Patriots offensive line.”

Here’s the Cardinals entire schedule for the 2016 season:

Week 1 vs. New England Patriots (Sunday Night Football)

Week 2 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Week 3 at Buffalo Bills

Week 4 vs. Los Angeles Rams

Week 5 at San Francisco 49ers (Thursday Night Football)

Week 6 vs. New York Jets (Monday Night Football)

Week 7 vs. Seattle Seahawks (Sunday Night Football)

Week 8 at Carolina Panthers 

Week 9 Bye

Week 10 vs. San Francisco 49ers

Week 11 at Minnesota Vikings

Week 12 at Atlanta Falcons

Week 13 vs. Washington Redskins

Week 14 at Miami Dolphins

Week 15 vs. New Orleans Saints

Week 16 at Seattle Seahawks

Week 17 at Los Angeles Rams