BY: ED COLE
GLENDALE, Ariz. – The anticipation of the Arizona Cardinals releasing their schedule was at a fever pitch all day on Thursday, especially with about 5-10 minutes remaining.
We can all calm down now, because the 2016 regular season schedule is out, and we know who the Cardinals are going to play, and where they’re going to play their opponents, and the times of those games.
The schedule and all notes that follow are courtesy of the Cardinals Media Relations Department.
Week 1 vs. New England: The Cardinals host the Patriots for the first time since 2004, and the first time at University of Phoenix Stadium, where New England has appeared twice in the Super Bowl.
Week 2 vs. Tampa Bay: Arizona hosts a Buccaneers team led by former Cardinals personnel executive Jason Licht (GM), and former Sun Devils head coach Dirk Koetter. It will be the 19th all-time meeting between the teams, and the series is tied 9-9.
Week 3 at Buffalo: The Cardinals visit Ralph Wilson Stadium for the first time since 2004, and make just their fourth overall visit to the venue that opened in 1973.
Week 4 vs. Los Angeles: Arizona closes the first quarter of the season when the Rams make their first post-relocation trip to the desert.
Week 5 at San Francisco: The Cardinals take on San Francisco in their lone Thursday game of the regular season. The “tri-casted” contest from Levi’s Stadium will be available on CBS, NFL Network and Twitter.
Week 6 vs. NY Jets: Former Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, and the Jets come to town for the Jets’ inaugural appearance at University of Phoenix Stadium. The game will air nationally on ESPN’s Monday Night Football.
Week 7 vs. Seattle: Arizona plays in prime time for the third straight week when they host the Seahawks on NBC’s Sunday Night Football. It also marks the third straight season that Seattle-Arizona will be featured on Sunday Night Football.
Week 8 at Carolina: The Cardinals close the first half of the regular season with a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship Game. It also features head coaches that won the last four AP Coach of the Year Awards (Bruce Arians 2012 & ’14, Ron Rivera 2013 & ’15).
Week 9 – Bye: For the second straight year the open date comes at the exact midpoint of the season with eight games down and eight to go.
Week 10 vs. San Francisco: The Cardinals open the second half of the season with a key divisional game. They play San Francisco for the second time in six weeks, and new 49ers coach Chip Kelly returns to University of Phoenix Stadium.
Week 11 at Minnesota: Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald again faces his hometown team for which he was once a ball boy. Fitzgerald and the Cardinals will play for the first time at U.S. Bank Stadium, which celebrates its inaugural season in 2016.
Week 12 at Atlanta: The 30th all-time meeting between the Falcons and Cardinals will also be Arizona’s last regular season visit to the Georgia Dome. QB Matt Ryan and his mates move into Mercedes-Benz Stadium in 2017.
Week 13 vs. Washington: A former NFC East foe comes to Arizona for the 123rd all-time meeting between the Washington and Arizona franchises. In their history the Cardinals have only faced one team more often (New York Giants, 126).
Week 14 at Miami: The Cardinals look for their fourth straight victory in the series vs. the Dolphins. It will be their first visit to Sun Life Stadium since they defeated Miami 24-23 there in 2004.
Week 15 vs. New Orleans: The Saints visit Arizona for the second straight season. The home team has won the last six games in the series, including a 31-19 Cardinals win in the 2015 season opener.
Week 16 at Seattle: The last time the Cardinals played at Seattle in the regular season’s penultimate game was in 2014. A Carson Palmer-to-Michael Floyd TD gave them a 17-10 victory that snapped Seattle’s 14-game home win streak and handed Russell Wilson his 1st home loss.
Week 17 at Los Angeles: The Cardinals close the regular season vs. the Rams in the club’s first game in Los Angeles since the 1994 regular season opener at the L.A. Coliseum.
* The Cardinals schedule features four prime time appearances; three are at home, two are on NBC’s Sunday Night Football and all four take place in the first seven weeks of the regular season. Before 2015, the Cardinals had never played more than three prime time games in a single season. Last year’s regular season schedule initially had the Cardinals with three prime time games but they were then “flexed” onto Sunday Night for a total of five in 2015.
* The season kicks off with a home game vs. New England on NBC’s Sunday Night Football. Then in weeks 5-7, the Cardinals play in prime time in three straight: at San Francisco on Thursday Night Football (CBS/NFL Network/Twitter), home against the New York Jets on ESPN’s Monday Night Football and then back on NBC and SNF at home against the Seattle Seahawks. In their history, the Cardinals have played consecutive prime time games on three occasions (twice last year) but never three straight.
* For the third straight season the Cardinals will appear in prime time on Sunday, Monday and Thursday nights.
* The Cardinals will play three of their first four games at home. While that has happened just seven times since 1970, it’s occurred four times since the opening of University of Phoenix Stadium in 2006 and each of the last two years.
* The Jets and Patriots will be facing the Cards for the first time at University of Phoenix Stadium leaving only the Jaguars and Titans as the NFL’s only teams never to have played at the venue that opened in 2006.
The 2016 season is the team’s 11th at University of Phoenix Stadium where the Cardinals have sold out all 104 games they have played.
Here’s the Cardinals’ entire preseason and regular season schedules, followed by some ticket and flex scheduling information, once again courtesy of the Cardinals Media Relations Department.
ARIZONA CARDINALS FOOTBALL CLUB 2016 SCHEDULE
DATE OPPONENT LOCATION SITE TIME AZ TIME
Fri., Aug. 12 OAKLAND RAIDERS Univ. of Phoenix Stadium 7:00 PM 7:00 PM
Fri., Aug. 19 at San Diego Chargers Qualcomm Stadium 6:00 PM 6:00 PM
Sun., Aug. 28 at Houston Texans (FOX National) NRG Stadium 3:00 PM 1:00 PM
Thu., Sep. 1 DENVER BRONCOS Univ. of Phoenix Stadium 6:30 PM 6:30 PM
DATE OPPONENT LOCATION SITE TIME AZ TIME
Sun., Sep. 11 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (SNF) Univ. of Phoenix Stadium 5:30 PM 5:30 PM
Sun., Sep. 18 TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS Univ. of Phoenix Stadium 1:05 PM 1:05 PM
Sun., Sep. 25 at Buffalo Bills Ralph Wilson Stadium 1:00 PM 10:00 AM
Sun., Oct. 2 LOS ANGELES RAMS Univ. of Phoenix Stadium 1:25 PM 1:25 PM
Thu., Oct. 6 at San Francisco 49ers (TNF) Levi’s Stadium 5:25 PM 5:25 PM
Mon., Oct. 17 NEW YORK JETS (MNF) Univ. of Phoenix Stadium 5:30 PM 5:30 PM
Sun., Oct. 23 SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (SNF) * Univ. of Phoenix Stadium 5:30 PM 5:30 PM
Sun., Oct. 30 at Carolina Panthers * Bank of America Stadium 4:25 PM 1:25 PM
Sun., Nov. 6 BYE
Sun., Nov. 13 SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS * Univ. of Phoenix Stadium 2:25 PM 2:25 PM
Sun., Nov. 20 at Minnesota Vikings * U.S. Bank Stadium Noon 11:00 AM
Sun., Nov. 27 at Atlanta Falcons * Georgia Dome 1:00 PM 11:00 AM
Sun., Dec. 4 WASHINGTON REDSKINS * Univ. of Phoenix Stadium 2:25 PM 2:25 PM
Sun., Dec. 11 at Miami Dolphins * Sun Life Stadium 1:00 PM 11:00 AM
Sun., Dec. 18 NEW ORLEANS SAINTS * Univ. of Phoenix Stadium 2:05 PM 2:05 PM
Sat., Dec. 24 at Seattle Seahawks CenturyLink Field 1:25 PM 2:25 PM
Sun., Jan. 1 at Los Angeles Rams * Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 1:25 PM 2:25 PM
SNF – Sunday Night Football on NBC
TNF – Thursday Night Football on CBS, NFL Network and Twitter
MNF – Monday Night Football on ESPN
* – Subject to flexible scheduling decisions
TICKETS: To inquire about Cardinals tickets or to reserve a spot on the team’s season ticket waiting list, please call (602) 379-0102 or visit www.azcardinals.com. The Cardinals have sold out all 104 games (preseason, regular season and postseason) at University of Phoenix Stadium since it opened in 2006.
FLEXIBLE SCHEDULING: “Flexible scheduling” will be used in Weeks 10-15 and 17. Additionally, in Weeks 5-9, flexible scheduling may be used in no more than two weeks. In Weeks 5-15, the schedule lists the games tentatively set for Sunday Night Football on NBC. Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved to Sunday night, in which case the tentatively scheduled Sunday night game would be moved to an afternoon start time. Flexible scheduling will not be applied to games airing on Thursday, Saturday or Monday nights. A flexible scheduling move would be announced at least 12 days before the game. For Week 17, the Sunday night game will be announced no later than six days prior to January 1. The schedule does not list a Sunday night game in Week 17, but an afternoon game with playoff implications will be moved to that time slot. Flexible scheduling ensures quality matchups in all Sunday time slots in those weeks and gives “surprise” teams a chance to play their way into prime time.