The Cardinals released their full 2021 17-game schedule Wednesday afternoon. This filled in the blanks after Week 1's slate of games were announced Wednesday morning and Bleacher Report's Master Tesfatsion reported the Cardinals would face the Indianapolis Colts Christmas Day.
Here's the rest of the schedule:
--The Cardinals will get battle-tested early, as three of their first six games come against 2020 playoff teams.
The other three matchups will be against the improved Minnesota Vikings, the 2019 NFC champion San Francisco 49ers after an injury-plagued 2020 and the Jacksonville Jaguars with No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence under center. Plus, four of the first six games are on the road.
--The end of the schedule is also going to test the Cardinals, perhaps their ability to fight for a playoff spot. Four of their final six opponents made the playoffs last year, albeit the Chicago Bears did so via a tie-breaker over the Cardinals.
The Cardinals' final road game is in Dallas, where they thumped the Cowboys 38-10 last year. Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott was hurt, though, and he is back after signing a new contract this season.
--There are some question marks about which quarterbacks the Cardinals will see this year. In the division, the Cardinals face the 49ers in Weeks 5 and 9. San Francisco recently traded up to the third spot in the draft to select North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance. The 49ers still have Jimmy Garoppolo on the team, so how long it takes Lance to take over affects who the Cardinals will be preparing for.
The Bears are in a similar boat, having traded up to select Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields with the 11th pick. They signed former Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton, who lost to the Cardinals last season, this offseason, although the late-season game may heighten the chances Arizona sees the rookie. The Cardinals could take on three of the top four quarterbacks selected in the 2021 draft class.
A glaring quarterback question mark is in Week 8. Will the Cardinals face reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers, or will he be traded by then? Week 7 against the Houston Texans also presents quarterback questions, although in a much different and grave manner.
--Fans at State Farm Stadium this year will get to see a lot of former Cardinals.
Former All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson and 2020 starting center Mason Cole are now with the Vikings and will visit in Arizona's home opener. Running back David Johnson will be back along with receiver/returner Andre Roberts as members of the Texans in Week 7. In Week 10, edge rusher Haason Reddick makes his return as a Carolina Panther, as does tight end Dan Arnold.
--The Cardinals play on Christmas Day for the first time since 2010 and third time in team history.
--Thirteen of the Cardinals' 17 games will air on FOX.