Arizona Cardinals vs. Tennessee Titans Pick ATS 9/12/21
Week 1 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, September 12, 2021 at 1PM EDT
Where: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee
Point Spread: ARI +3/TEN -3 (BAS - Teasers up to 19 points and -105 sides/totals! What more could you ask for!?)
Over/Under Total: 52
The Arizona Cardinals come into Nissan Stadium for a week one matchup with the Tennessee Titans, as each team kicks off its 2021 season. This is the third season with Kliff Kingsbury and QB Kyler Murray at the Arizona helm. Five wins in 2019 grew to 8 wins in 2020, as more upward movement is hoped for this season. Tennessee, meanwhile, has established itself as a contender the last few seasons—going to the AFC title game in 2019 and winning 11 games last season. Both teams enter 2021 with high hopes that are steeped in realism. Which team can get off to a good start on Sunday in Nashville?
Tennessee Making a Push
On the precipice the last few seasons, one can see how the Titans faithful put a lot of eggs into this season’s basket. It’s an offense that is growing in power and could be even better in 2021. Derrick Henry is coming off a 2000-yard season and can take over games. Resurgent Ryan Tannehill, a brilliant addition to the team when he was written off by many, is getting more tools with which to work, Not only did he enjoy the explosion in form with receiver AJ Brown last season, but the addition of Julio Jones gives them a potential two-headed monster that could really bring this offense around to full-speed. A few other key acquisitions could also help round out this unit. And with a healthy Taylor Lewan (questionable) back at tackle, along with a deep and capable line, this offense could be among the tops in the league.
What Can the Arizona Defense Do About it?
Up front, the Cardinals should be just fine. Losing Haason Reddick hurts, but getting JJ Watt and rookie Zaven Collins (questionable) should find them in even better shape from a pass-rushing standpoint. With guys like Markus Golden and blossoming second-year linebacker Isaiah Simmons, there are difference-makers in the front seven. But with Tennessee’s increased aerial presence, one has to wonder about an Arizona secondary, especially after it didn’t work out with new signing Malcolm Butler, who is now on the retired list. They will be relying on Robert Alford, who missed the last two seasons. They are solid at safety, with Budda Baker manning one of the spots, but they’re looking for a lot of youth to deliver at the corner. It won’t take long to see if this secondary is up-to-snuff against this Tennessee bunch, a tough entrance exam for this Arizona pass defense.
Will Arizona’s Offensive Improvements Take Hold?
A Cardinals fan has to be happy with Kyler Murray’s progress. Now in year three, this is typically where one would expect to see a surge. And it appears Arizona made some moves to help bring that about better. DeAndre Hopkins is a huge weapon, and if AJ Green can rediscover some of his prior form, that gives Murray two nice targets. The signing of RB James Conner offers promise, as he teams with Chase Edmonds to form a nice 1-2 punch. With several key role receivers, tight ends, and backs, they have a nice supporting cast to bolster their star contributors.
It may actually be along the O-line where we saw the most impactful moves made on behalf of this Arizona offense. Some good pieces are in place with DJ Humphries and Justin Pugh manning the left side, with Kelvin Beachum at RT. But getting a really good guard in Brian Winters, along with C Rodney Hudson from the Raiders, they may have taken their line to the next level. And they have a lot of depth should something go wrong. If this line comes together as some suspect, it could take this offense to the next level—a scary proposition for opponents.
Show and Prove for Titans’ Defense
Injuries and some wayward signings seemed to result in the Titans’ defense taking a small step back last season. Anything similar starting this season offers a lot of hope for the Arizona offense. The signings of Jadaveon Clowney and Vic Beasley were both duds. The secondary was stretched thin and lost a fair deal of its playmaking appeal. The signing of Bud Dupree offers some real hope, as does the drafting of first-round corner Caleb Farley. Last year’s first-rounder, impactful LB Jeffrey Simmons, paid off in a major way. But they still need to make more of an impact up-front and find a more consistent pass-rush. S Kevin Byard should be in a better position to reclaim his ball-hawk reputation. But for those who feel it’s asking a lot for a total turnaround manifesting in week one, one can make a strong case for how the Cardinals’ offense could thrive in this home setting against a team whose defense lags well behind its offense.
Take the Cardinals
There is some real hope for the Cardinals. Between the anticipated growth of Murray and other youngsters in year three of Kingsbury’s system, along with some key additions on both sides of the ball, the hope is bolstered with actual tangible improvement. But the same can be said about the Titans, who have added a few wrinkles in an attempt to get over the hump. In a way, the Titans are where the Cardinals are trying to get to. And it’s a tough road spot for a young Cardinals’ team where many of its players have yet to play on this field in Nashville. While there’s a chance that Tennessee’s more electric offensive stars will have the final say on this contest, I see Arizona being scrappy enough to more than hang in there and get the cover on Sunday.
Loot’s Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Arizona Cardinals plus 3 points. Bet your Week 1 NFL picks for FREE by taking advantage of a 100% real cash bonus on your first deposit up to $500 at GTBets Sportsbook!
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