Arizona Cardinals open with pair of road games that could define season

Provided his knee is healed, the Cardinals are banking on giving star running back David Johnson a bigger workload in 2017. Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire

The NFL has released its 2017 regular-season schedule. Here's a look at what's in store for the Arizona Cardinals.

Breakdown: How the Cardinals’ veteran roster handles its first two games, on the road against Detroit and Indianapolis, could define the rest of the season. Arizona’s schedule is loaded with road games at the front end (first two), the middle (four in seven weeks) and at the end (two of their final three), so conditioning and rest will be key to success this season. Fortunately for their aging veterans, the Cards will travel to London to face the Rams in Week 7, followed by a bye week before a trip to San Francisco. Their road schedule, on paper in April, appears more difficult than a home slate that includes the 49ers, Bucs, Jags, Rams and Titans.

London luck: The schedule-makers gave the Cardinals a break when they kept Arizona at home the week before traveling to London. Arizona will host the Buccaneers on Oct. 15 and then fly to London on Oct. 16, when they’ll begin preparing for the Rams. After returning home, Arizona will have a bye in Week 8. The NFL set the Cardinals up nicely which should help Arizona’s chances of recovering with a veteran roster, setting up for the second half of the season.

Back home again: Week 2 may be the most emotional game of the season for Cardinals coach Bruce Arians when Arizona visits the Indianapolis Colts, where Arians coached from 1998-2000 and again in 2012, the season that set him up for his first head-coaching job. The memories will flood back for both him and Chuck Pagano, but Week 2 will be a perfect opportunity for the Colts to unveil their statue of Peyton Manning since Arians, Manning’s first quarterbacks coach, will be in town.

Strength of schedule: 23rd, .467

Cardinals Regular-Season Schedule (All times Eastern)

  • Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 10, at Detroit, 1 p.m.

  • Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 17, at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.

  • Week 3: Monday, Sept. 25, Dallas, 8:30 p.m.

  • Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 1, San Francisco, 4:05 p.m.

  • Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 8, at Philadelphia, 1 p.m.

  • Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 15, Tampa Bay, 4:05 p.m.

  • Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 22, at Los Angeles Rams, 1 p.m.

  • Week 8: BYE

  • Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 5, at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m.

  • Week 10: Thursday, Nov. 9, Seattle, 8:25 p.m.

  • Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 19, at Houston, 1 p.m.

  • Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 26, Jacksonville, 4:25 p.m.

  • Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 3, Los Angeles Rams, 4:25 p.m.

  • Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 10, Tennessee, 4:05 p.m.

  • Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 17, at Washington, 1 p.m.

  • Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 24, NY Giants, 4:25 p.m.

  • Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 31, at Seattle, 4:25 p.m.