Prediction and Pick for Cardinals vs. Titans – NFL (Week 1, 2021)
The Arizona Cardinals and Tennessee Titans meet up to kick off the 2021 NFL season, gathering for what figures to be a high-scoring affair.
Tennessee added an explosive weapon in Julio Jones this offseason, while Arizona brought in A.J. Green. These are two very strong offensive teams facing off, and with little defense to speak of, this should be a fun one to watch.
But how should you bet? Let’s break things down in my week one Cardinals vs. Titans prediction and pick.
Cardinals vs. Titans Week 1 Odds
Tennessee opens the year as a three-point favorite at most NFL betting sites. That makes sense, seeing as they’re the team between these two that has actually made the playoffs in recent years.
The Titans also get this game at home, where they went 5-3 a season ago. Of course, Tennessee went just 7-10 against the spread last year, and was 4-7 ATS as a favorite.
Arizona had a nice start to 2020, but flamed out after Kyler Murray injured his shoulder. The Cardinals were a middling 4-4 on the road last year, 3-3 ATS as underdogs, and just 7-9 against the spread in general.
Both of these teams enjoyed potent offensive attacks a year ago, and seem to have only gotten better on that side of the ball. Throw in Tennessee’s horrendous defense (24th in points allowed), and we may very well have a barn burner on our hands.
Why the Cardinals Win
Arizona has the look and feel of a team on the rise. They were already that team last year, and started sulking once their star quarterback got hurt.
Seriously, look at the splits.
Murray is understandably more effective when he’s healthy, while Arizona got him even more help.
The Cardinals brought in James Conner for depth in their backfield, and they also snagged veteran A.J. Green in free agency, and the explosive Rondale Moore in the draft.
Offensively, the Cardinals are as dynamic as anyone, and especially in the face of what is likely to be a terrible Titans defense again, they should have little trouble scoring points.
The kicker is with their defense, which already had Chandler Jones on the edge and a top-10 pass defense, but beefed up their front lines by signing J.J. Watt.
On paper, Arizona has a bit more defensive bite, and their offense can match wits with the Titans. That could be enough to give them the edge here.
Why the Titans Win
Tennessee could hang 40+ points on anyone in 2020. They’re more capable of that than ever after trading for superstar wide receiver Julio Jones.
Ryan Tannehill now has two legit #1 receiver targets to throw to, and for some reason that makes people forget this potent Tennessee offense can still lean on a man-eater in Derrick Henry.
He of the 2,000+ yard rushing yard season.
The Titans can get into a shootout and win, but the real edge they have is on the ground. Henry can mash into even the strongest of run defenses and come out on top, but Arizona’s run defense just isn’t scary.
It’s obviously possible the arrival of Watt changes that, but the Cardinals weren’t exactly stalwarts at stopping the run in 2020. Check out their key rankings against the run last year.
- 41.37% rush play percentage allowed (16th)
- 4.6 yards per rush allowed (23rd)
- 125.5 rushing yards per game allowed (21st)
Henry has to be licking his chops.
Tennessee’s defense still has clear warts, but if Henry can get a head full of steam early – or they simply have a lead – his dominance inside could be the Titan’s ticket to a big home win in week one.
Cardinals vs. Titans Prediction for Week 1
I think the Titans will win this one. Arizona seems sexier and they offer interesting value, but the Titans feel like the more complete team to start the year.
Betting against Derrick Henry rarely feels good, while you know Julio Jones is going to feel motivated after finally being on what looks to be a winning team again.
If you need a straight up pick, I like Tennessee. The lines are good, but it’s worth wondering if that’s actually the best bet in this contest.
Cardinals vs. Titans Pick
You have a pretty good idea as to which way I am going with this by now.
For the most part, I side with the Titans at home. Arizona has the slightly better defense, but perhaps not really by much, and they have yet to prove their new pieces will work.
Tennessee’s offense is more complete, they’re at home with rowdy fans, and they have more star talent that can take over the game at any turn.
There is just so much offensive firepower here, while the Titans left 2020 as the league’s 4th best scoring offense. Add in their defense, and this should be a high-octane, high-scoring affair.
I am hammering the Over here, although I’d do some hunting to see if any sportsbooks price it below 52.