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Arizona Cardinals game-by-game predictions after 2024 NFL schedule release

The NFL on Wednesday announced all home and away regular season games for each of the league's 32 NFL teams, including the Arizona Cardinals.

There's an overall feeling that the Cardinals will be a better team in 2024 than last season, as head coach Jonathan Gannon and his staff move forward after a full season and two offseasons with the team.

That said, it's any given Sunday (or game day), as the expression goes. Here are (way too early) game-by-game predictions and a thought on what could be the Cardinals' final 2024 record in what should be an improvement over last season. Predictions are based on top players being healthy and able to go.

Week 1: at Buffalo Bills

Bad weather or decent weather, it's hard to imagine the young Cardinals going all the way to upstate New York to open the season and getting a win over Josh Allen and company. The Cardinals franchise hasn't won in Buffalo since the St. Louis days, 1971 to be exact. The Bills are always in the contender conversation and should be this year, too. They've beefed up their wide receiver group since trading Stefon Diggs via the draft and free agency.

Prediction: Bills over Cardinals

Week 2: vs. Los Angeles Rams

Without Aaron Donald, who will chase down a presumably healthy Kyler Murray? It will be something to watch, but based on who the Rams have now with Sean McVay calling the shots, they are always going to have a good strategy on both sides of the ball. But with a good impression to make in front of the home crowd for the first time, the Cardinals get it done.

Prediction: Cardinals over Rams

Week 3: vs. Detroit Lions

The Lions got to the NFC Championship Game last season and hit the 49ers in the mouth quickly on their way to a 17-point halftime lead. They wound up losing and missing out on the Super Bowl, but it's clear Detroit is on the rise and has Super Bowl aspirations. Much of the Lions' offseason moves were about keeping their 2023 team together.

Prediction: Lions over Cardinals

Week 4: vs. Washington Commanders

This game could mark the return of quarterback Jayden Daniels to Arizona for his first game in the state since transferring from Arizona State to LSU. While Daniels will be three games into his pro career, he isn't likely to be the better quarterback on the field on this day. And how about a third straight home game? In a battle of two 4-13 teams from last season, it's the Cardinals that look like they've made more improvement from 2023. The Cardinals could face former tight end Zach Ertz, signed in the offseason by Washington. But maybe the biggest storyline? The return of former head coach Kliff Kingsbury, now the Commanders' offensive coordinator.

Prediction: Cardinals over Commanders

Week 5: at San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers have won four in a row in the all-time series, and none of the four results have been very close. San Francisco has risen to the top of the NFC with local guy Brock Purdy at quarterback and a host of stars on both sides of the ball. The Cardinals aren't quite ready to pull off a stunner.

Prediction: 49ers over Cardinals

Week 6: at Green Bay Packers

The Cardinals head to the Frozen Tundra (which won't be frozen in mid-October, you would think) for the first time since 2018, when they defeated the Packers 20-17 at Lambeau Field. Arizona has won three of the last four meetings, including an epic playoff game in January 2016 at what was then called University of Phoenix Stadium. Larry Fitzgerald caught the winning touchdown pass in overtime. Two of the top free agent signings for the Packers this offseason were running back Josh Jacobs and safety Xavier McKinney. Quarterback Jordan Love sure looks like the real deal.

Prediction: Packers over Cardinals

Week 7: vs. Los Angeles Chargers

For the second straight season, Justin Herbert and the L.A. Chargers come through Glendale, and it's the first Cardinals Monday night game since 2022. The Chargers have made a change at running back with Austin Ekeler gone to Washington, and Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins in. The Chargers went a disappointing 5-12 last season and underachieved given the individual talent on their roster. One of their wins was at State Farm Stadium when Los Angeles scored a touchdown with 15 seconds to play and converted a two-point conversion to steal the win. The Cardinals close it out this time against new head coach Jim Harbaugh's crew.

Predictions: Cardinals over Chargers

Week 8: at Miami Dolphins

The Cardinals are 1-5 all-time on the road against the Dolphins. Miami made the playoffs last season with an 11-6 record and boast a highly talented roster with names like Tua Tagovailoa, Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, De'Von Achane, Odell Beckham Jr. and Raheem Mostert, and that's just on offense. It's a veteran-laden squad trying to get over the hump in the AFC and make a playoff run, and the Cardinals aren't likely to get in the way of that.

Prediction: Dolphins over Cardinals

Week 9: vs. Chicago Bears

Will the Caleb Williams-to-Rome Odunze rookie show explode in Glendale? The Bears have dynamic rookies, and added talent in free agency with running back D'Andre Swift and tight end Gerald Everett, and also traded for veteran wide receiver Keenan Allen. The Cardinals haven't beaten the Bears at home since 1998. That changes in 2024.

Prediction: Cardinals over Bears

Week 10 vs. New York Jets

The now-controversial Aaron Rodgers is moving toward a return from a torn Achilles tendon, and could face the Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. The Jets finished 7-10 last season, mostly without Rodgers, and if he's healthy they could fare better. The Cardinals are 1-2 in Arizona against the Jets and are playing them for the first time since 2020. Rodgers has never really put up huge numbers against the Cardinals in the regular season over his career, save for a four-touchdown game in 2012. He's been much better in the postseason, but if he's healthy in Week 10, he's never easy to beat.

Prediction: Jets over Cardinals

Week 11: Bye

Week 12: at Seattle Seahawks

No Seahawks until late November is a little off. The Cardinals haven't defeated the Seahawks since November of 2021, a 23-13 win in Seattle. The Seahawks have won five straight but this is typically a matchup that is close and hard-fought, home or away. Seattle's defense is tougher at Lumen Field.

Prediction: Seahawks over Cardinals

Week 13: at Minnesota Vikings

This will be the fourth straight season in which the Cardinals and Vikings have met. Arizona lost at Minnesota 34-26 in 2022, then held joint practices with the Vikings in 2023 during training camp before facing Minnesota in a preseason game. This season it's back to the Twin Cities again, where Sam Darnold is in line to be the No. 1 quarterback and Aaron Jones is potentially the new lead running back. The Vikings finished 7-10 last season after winning the NFC North in 2022.

Prediction: Cardinals over Vikings

Week 14: vs. Seattle Seahawks

The Cardinals were a 51-yard field goal away from winning the season finale in 2023 over Seattle at home, but the miss gave them the fourth overall pick and eventually Marvin Harrison Jr. Arizona-Seattle games in Glendale can be full of plot twists. The Cardinals are good enough in 2024 to earn a split.

Prediction: Cardinals over Seahawks

Week 15 vs. New England Patriots

This was the team the Cardinals played on the fateful night of Dec. 12, 2022, the Monday night game in which Murray was lost for the season with a torn ACL. The Patriots are back in town this season and are coming off a 4-13 season, the same record as the Cardinals. New England had some nice offseason pickups and rookie Drake Maye is the future at quarterback.

Prediction: Cardinals over Patriots

Week 16: at Carolina Panthers

The Cardinals last faced the Panthers in 2022, and won 26-16. Murray threw two touchdown passes and ran for another. Before that, Arizona lost four straight in Charlotte and hasn't had much overall success against the Panthers. This could be a fun game to watch between two athletic quarterbacks, Murray and the Panthers' Bryce Young. But Young must make a large jump in production from last season, when the Panthers went 2-15.

Prediction: Cardinals over Panthers

Week 17: at Los Angeles Rams

The Cardinals are 2-6 in their last eight games against the Rams in California, but they've won two of the last four regular season contests at SoFi Stadium. Los Angeles went 10-7 and made the postseason in 2023, which came as a surprise to many. They'll continue to be a tough opponent and will likely challenge for the playoffs again, maybe even at this point of the season.

Prediction: Rams over Cardinals

vs. San Francisco 49ers

What a four-year run it's been for the Niners, who have reached the NFC Championship Game in each of the past four seasons with trips to two Super Bowls (both losses to Kansas City). Two former Cardinals are now in the Bay Area: former special teams standout Ezekiel Turner and former quarterback Josh Dobbs. Still too much Christian McCaffrey, George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and Purdy, but if the 49ers have already clinched the NFC West, it might be a different result.

Prediction: 49ers over Cardinals

Final Cardinals' 2024 record prediction

8-9 — Doubling the win total from 2023 has to be viewed as a big step forward in the rebuilding and retooling process, a record the organization can draw off of. The overall schedule isn't very difficult, there are already good vibes around the team months before they even play a game that counts and there should be some wins and moments in 2024 that will continue to lift fans' spirits. Assuming Murray stays healthy, Harrison makes a sizable impact and veterans raise their game and elevate the play of their younger co-workers.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Cardinals record prediction: Complete game-by-game picks for 2024 season