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Arizona Cardinals' 2022 schedule: Tough start made worse without Deandre Hopkins

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TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Cardinals' 2022 schedule was released along with the rest of the NFL slate Thursday.

The 2022 NFL season will kick off on Thursday, Sept. 8 with the Buffalo Bills against the defending champion Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. ESPN opens its schedule with Monday Night Football on Sept. 12 featuring the Denver Broncos at the Seattle Seahawks.

The final regular-season games for the 2022 season will be played Jan. 8, 2023. The playoffs begin Jan. 14 and continue through Super Bowl LVII on Feb. 12 in Glendale, Arizona.

Here's what's in store for the Cardinals:

Schedule

Sept. 11: vs. Kansas City

Sept. 18: at Las Vegas

Sept. 25: vs. L.A. Rams

Oct. 2: at Carolina

Oct. 9: vs. Philadelphia

Oct. 16: at Seattle

Oct. 20: vs. New Orleans (TNF)

Oct. 30: at Minnesota

Nov. 6: vs. Seattle

Nov. 13: at L.A. Rams

Nov. 21: vs. San Francisco (MNF in Mexico City)

Nov. 27: vs. L.A. Chargers

Dec. 4: Bye

Dec. 12: vs. New England (MNF)

Dec. 18: at Denver

Dec. 25: vs. Tampa Bay (SNF)

Jan. 1: at Atlanta

Jan. 8: at San Francisco

Strength of schedule: 2nd, .543

Cardinals | Tickets

Biggest takeaway

The Cardinals' first six games, which will be played without wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, will be a gauntlet. How they get through them will decide what kind of the season Arizona has. In the last two seasons, the Cardinals' start saved them after the late-season collapses. With games against the Chiefs, Raiders and Rams to start, Arizona won't be able to catch its breath until Week 4 in Carolina. There's a very real possibility the Cardinals only win a game or two by the time Hopkins returns.

Revenge game

Week 3 against the Rams will be the Cardinals chance to show Los Angeles that they're not as bad as the wild-card game last season suggests. That may be easier said than done without Hopkins.

What the oddsmakers think

The oddsmakers have the Cardinals' win total at nine. They'll need to have a strong start without Hopkins to reach that number. Their season is full of tough stretches and with a history of late-season collapses, reaching nine wins may be a stretch.

Bold prediction

A year after the Cardinals won 11 games and went to the playoffs, they won't win more than seven and will miss the playoffs.