The Arizona Cardinals are just two years removed from making it to their first-ever Super Bowl but have several holes to fill in order to make their third straight playoff appearance. Gone are key contributors including QB Kurt Warner (retirement), WR Anquan Boldin (to the Baltimore Ravens via trade), LB Karlos Dansby (to the Miami Dolphins via free agency) and S Antrel Rolle (to the New York Giants via free agency). Former Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart will finally have the opportunity to make the Cardinals his team in taking over for Warner while head coach Ken Whisenhunt might also turn them into more of a power running team with the tandem of Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower leading the way.
Odds to win NFC West Division: +250
Odds to win the NFC Conference: 22/1
Arizona Cardinals Odds to win Super Bowl XLV: 50/1
Regular Season Wins Total Line: 7.5
*all odds quoted from Bodog*
Here’s what this year’s schedule looks like for the Cardinals:
Week 1 Sunday, September 12, 2010 @ St. Louis Rams
Analysis: The Cardinals open up the season on the road against a Rams team that is riding an eight-game losing streak and might be starting rookie QB Sam Bradford.
Week 2 Sunday, September 19, 2010 @ Atlanta Falcons
Analysis: This will be the first true test of Leinart’s career facing one of the NFC’s best teams and completes the team’s only back-to-back road games of the season.
Week 3 Sunday, September 26, 2010 vs. Oakland Raiders
Analysis:. Arizona welcomes the Raiders to town after what will likely be their first win of the season against St. Louis at home.
Week 4 Sunday, October 3, 2010 @ San Diego Chargers
Analysis: The Chargers will be coming off a road game at Seattle and play their next two games away from home after hosting the Cardinals.
Week 5 Sunday, October 10, 2010 vs. New Orleans Saints
Analysis: The Saints will see a much different team than they saw in their NFC divisional playoff game back in January that ended Warner’s career.
Week 6 — BYE WEEK —
Week 7 Sunday, October 24, 2010 @ Seattle Seahawks
Analysis: The Cardinals are coming off their bye week and get to play Seattle in two of their next four games.
Week 8 Sunday, October 31, 2010 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Analysis: The Bucs start a rough stretch of four road games in five weeks at Arizona.
Week 9 Sunday, November 7, 2010 @ Minnesota Vikings
Analysis: The Vikings host the Cardinals in between tough road games at New England and Chicago.
Week 10 Sunday, November 14, 2010 vs. Seattle Seahawks
Analysis: Arizona swept Seattle in two meetings last season, outscoring the Seahawks by a 58-23 margin.
Week 11 Sunday, November 21, 2010 @ Kansas City Chiefs
Analysis: The Chiefs will be coming off a road game at divisional rival Denver and visit Seattle next
Week 12 Monday, November 29, 2010 vs. San Francisco 49ers
Analysis: The 49ers visit Arizona off three straight home games against winnable opponents in one of two prime-time television appearances for the Cardinals.
Week 13 Sunday, December 5, 2010 vs. St. Louis Rams
Analysis: Arizona crushed St. Louis last year 31-10 at home but were led by Warner’s 313 passing yards and Boldin’s 116 receiving yards.
Week 14 Sunday, December 12, 2010 vs. Denver Broncos
Analysis: The Broncos visit the Cardinals in the midst of three straight road games.
Week 15 Sunday, December 19, 2010 @ Carolina Panthers
Analysis: The Panthers host Arizona in their home finale before hitting the road for their last two games of the season at Pittsburgh and Atlanta.
Week 16 Saturday, December 25, 2010 vs. Dallas Cowboys
Analysis: The Cardinals get the Cowboys in their home finale, which will be televised nationally on Christmas Night and could have playoff implications for one or both teams.
Week 17 Sunday, January 2, 2011 @ San Francisco 49ers
Analysis: This game might decide the NFC West title, which the Cardinals won last year despite dropping both meetings with the 49ers.