The Cardinals will begin the season with two East Coast road games, traveling to Detroit in Week 1 and then Indianapolis. Both contests start at 1 p.m. Eastern, a time many believe is a detriment to West Coast teams because their body clocks are set three hours earlier.
Coach Bruce Arians won't let his team fall into that mindset.
"We've got to get off to a good start, and there are no excuses about 10 a.m. and all that crap," Arians said. "We all know the schedule."
The Cardinals were winless in their four East Coast games in 2016, falling to the Bills, Panthers, Falcons and Dolphins. Each game started at 1 p.m. Eastern. They were 7-4-1 in all other games, but Arians doesn't think the location and time factored in.
"We just didn't play very well, and the year before, we had no problems," Arians said. "Each team is so different. We went up to New York a couple years ago and played great, so it's an excuse really. That's all it is."
The Cardinals indeed played well traveling East in 2015, shellacking the Bears, Lions and Eagles. However, none of those games fit the narrow criteria of an early East Coast start (Chicago was in the morning but in the Central time zone, while the Detroit and Philadelphia games started later.)
The team wasn't too impressive in its two early East Coast games in 2015, losing to the Steelers and falling behind the Browns 20-7 before storming back for the win.
The Cardinals are doing what they can to get their bodies adjusted, practicing earlier this week and flying to Detroit on Friday to acclimate. The Cardinals have the talent to pull out a pair of road wins – especially with Colts quarterback Andrew Luck set to miss Week 2 – but must avoid sluggish starts.
"You don't want to get behind on the road in a domed stadium, for sure," Arians said.
Cardinals in early east coast games
|* *||Games||PPG||PPG Allowed||Record|
|Early East Coast (2016)||4||20.0||31.8||0-4|
|All Others (2016)||12||28.2||19.6||7-4-1|
|Early East Coast (2015)||2||23.5||22.5||1-1|
|All Others (2015)||14||31.6||19.1||12-2|