Carson Palmer has to stay healthy for the Arizona Cardinals to have a successful season, but when looking at their brutal schedule it doesn't look like it will matter much anyway.
The Arizona Cardinals will go where Carson Palmer takes them in 2017, the 38-year-old quarterback better stay healthy or there will be trouble for this team on the season. That is not a guarantee as Palmer was sacked 40 times in 2016, nearly matching his career high for a season. His mobility will be tested as the NFC West is loaded with defensive lines that like to get after the quarterback.
In looking at the schedule for Arizona this year one thing sticks out tremendously – 10 AM Pacific Time road starts. The Cardinals have 5 of them on the season, which is absolutely horrid. Time zone shifts to the east have a definitive and measurable effect on winning percentages in baseball and football is no different.
The possible carnage starts right off the bat too, with morning road games against Detroit and Indianapolis in Weeks 1 and 2. Losing both of those games would not be out of the question, and then they would be looking at a Sunday Night Football game at home against the Dallas Cowboys to avoid a 0-3 start. Either way, coming out of the first 3 weeks at 1-2 could be a good outcome for this team
The schedule in Weeks 4-7 eases up a bit, as it includes two games with NFC West cellar dweller 49ers and Rams. Philadelphia and Tampa Bay are included in that stretch, with the game against the Eagles a very losable 10 AM PST start again. A split with those two clubs puts the Cardinals at 3-4 going into the bye week.
After crushing the 49ers in Week 9 the Cardinals will face the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night with a chance to go over .500 for the first time on the season. If Carson Palmer is healthy coming into this game he may not be coming out as the Seahawks will pressure him early and often. This game is the turning point of their season, as going 4-5 would put them in a dangerous hole.
Weeks 10-14 could be a good stretch with favorable matchups, but another 10 AM PST road game at Houston in that first game is likely a loss. Even if they win the other three games against the Jaguars, Rams, and Titans, the Cardinals are looking at a record of 7-6 going into another 10 AM PST road start at Washington. Who knows who will be the starting QB at this point and if the Week 16 game at Seattle means anything that is another loss regardless based on recent history. I would not wager on Carson Palmer being around to start that game.
Arizona Cardinals Season Prediction: 8-8, Super Bowl Odds +3300Best Line Offered: at BetOnline