The Arizona Cardinals are set to make their first venture into the eastern time zone this week as the team prepares to match up with an 0-2 Buffalo Bills squad.
The Cardinals went 4-1 in five regular season contests in the eastern time zone last year, which is an impressive mark considering west coast times have historically struggled to win after adjusting body clocks.
Arizona's lone east coast loss last season came in a disastrous performance against Pittsburgh immediately following a victory at Detroit. After toppling the Lions by a score of 42-17, the Cardinals stayed on the east coast instead of returning to Arizona for practices.
The 25-13 loss came against Steelers' reserve quarterback Landry Jones in what was the team's only road loss last season.
The Cardinals have enjoyed success under head coach Bruce Arians on ventures to the opposite coast, and Wednesday, Arians attributed that to the Cardinals' practice times. Regardless of which time zone the team plays in, Arians has the Cardinals practice in the mornings, which he says helps the team adjust on swing trips.
"The biggest thing is we started practicing earlier last year to get on these east coast times so practice is at 10:40, walk through at 10:40 and practice around 11 so that we're on that time already as far as getting up, going and it doesn't affect us on west coast, but it obviously helps us on the east coast," Arians said. "And then the day of travel helps."
The Cardinals' contest against the Bills will start at 10 a.m. in Arizona, and 1 p.m. in Buffalo.
Sunday's forecast in Buffalo calls for temperatures around 66 degrees at game time with close to 50 percent humidity.
Following Sunday's game, the Cardinals will make four more trips to the eastern time zone, but the team is fortunate to have two of those games come against teams that play in stadiums with domes including Atlanta and Minnesota.
The only December trip the Cardinals make to the east comes on December 11, and that contest will be played in Miami where the weather is traditionally good during the winter months.
Aside from Sunday's contest in Buffalo which the Cardinals get out of the way early in the season, the only game the team plays where weather could be conceivably perceived as a factor comes against the Carolina Panthers on October 30.
On Wednesday, Arians made interesting comments regarding the early east coast kickoff, suggesting that the game is harder on the players, but easier on the coaches who benefit from the time zone difference on a return trip to the west coast.
"For me it has always been harder for a west coast team to go play at 10 or 11 on the east coast as opposed to an east coast team coming to play at 4 o'clock in the afternoon," Arians said. "But it's harder on coaches going the other direction. Because you get back at 1 o'clock in the morning and you've got to go to work. Here we get back at 9 and get a good night's sleep. But for the players it's the opposite way."