49ers NFC West rival No. 1: Cardinals could suffer another second-half collapse
A year ago, the Cardinals got off to a red-hot 7-0 start and seemed to be the 2021 installment of an unpredicted Cinderella story that’d make it all the way to the Super Bowl.
Except for that seemingly inevitable late-season collapse in which head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s squad lost five out of its last eight games, ultimately finishing 11-6 and second within the NFC West before a premature exit in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
Well, history could easily repeat itself yet again in 2022.
Arizona’s schedule for the second half of the upcoming season is awfully brutal, and just take a look at the slate of games from Week 10 through Week 18:
- Week 10 @ Rams
- Week 11 vs. 49ers
- Week 12 vs. Chargers
- Week 13: BYE
- Week 14 vs. Patriots
- Week 15 @ Broncos
- Week 16 vs. Buccaneers
- Week 17 @ Falcons
- Week 18 @ 49ers
There isn’t necessarily any “easy” stretch of games on the Cardinals schedule, but this particular run is particularly tough.
Arguably the only game in which Arizona should be a clear-cut favorite, at least right now, is Week 17 on the road against the Atlanta Falcons, and even the nature of that being an East Coast road trip on New Year’s Day makes for a bit of a tossup.
The Cardinals faired well against the Niners last year, yes, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see Kingsbury and Co. win only one or two of those aforementioned games, all of which aside from the Falcons are legitimate playoff contenders.