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Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Arizona Cardinals schedule analysis

By Mike Sando

Breakdown: The Arizona Cardinals open at home for only the third time since moving to Arizona for the 1988 season. Better yet, the Carolina Panthers are on the menu. Arizona can't take any opponent for granted, of course, but opening the season with a clearly winnable home game certainly beats the alternative. The bye falls in Week 6 and gives coach Ken Whisenhunt extra time to prepare for a Week 7 home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Whisenhunt, assistant head coach/offensive line Russ Grimm and new defensive coordinator Ray Horton are among the former Steelers assistants on Arizona's staff. The additional time gives Arizona the best chance to pull an upset against the AFC champs.

Complaint department: The Cardinals have consecutive road games against the Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams in November. That's looking like a tough stretch. Playing the New York Giants, Pittsburgh and Baltimore Ravens during a four-game stretch is another toughie. The Cardinals have three games kicking off at 10 a.m. local time in Phoenix and three more kicking off at 11 a.m. local time. Whisenhunt has lamented the early starts.

Coasting home: The Cardinals faced the easiest schedule in the league over the second half of the 2010 season, but they could not capitalize. They play four of their final five games at University of Phoenix Stadium. None of the five teams during that stretch -- Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals and Seattle Seahawks -- finished the 2010 regular season with a winning record.

Cardinals Regular-Season Schedule (All times Eastern)
Week 1: Sunday, Sep. 11, Carolina, 4:15 PM
Week 2: Sunday, Sep. 18, at Washington, 1:00 PM
Week 3: Sunday, Sep. 25, at Seattle, 4:15 PM
Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 2, NY Giants, 4:05 PM
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 9, at Minnesota, 1:00 PM
Week 6: BYE
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 23, Pittsburgh, 4:05 PM
Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 30, at Baltimore, 1:00 PM
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 6, St. Louis, 4:15 PM
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 13, at Philadelphia, 1:00 PM
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 20, at San Francisco, 4:05 PM
Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 27, at St. Louis, 1:00 PM
Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 4, Dallas, 4:15 PM
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 11, San Francisco, 4:05 PM
Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 18, Cleveland, 4:15 PM
Week 16: Saturday, Dec. 24, at Cincinnati, 1:00 PM
Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 1, Seattle, 4:15 PM