While the regular season schedules for all 32 NFL teams are set to officially be released tonight at 8PM ET, that has not stopped bits and pieces of teams’ schedules from being leaked. One of the scheduled games appears to involve the Tennessee Titans and their Week One opponent – the Arizona Cardinals.
Titans open 2021 season vs. Cardinals at @NissanStadium
📺: Full schedule released tonight at 7 PM (CT) on @nflnetwork
— Tennessee Titans/Oilers (@Titans) May 12, 2021
The Cardinals will travel to Nashville on September 12 to do battle with the 2020 AFC South Champion Tennessee Titans. This is about as exciting of a home opener as you could ask for if you’re the Titans.
This matchup has it all. The Cardinals will bring their explosive offense to Nashville led by quarterback Kyler Murray and five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Tennessee’s new-look secondary will be thrown into the fire in Week One as they will be tasked with slowing down one of the NFL’s best receivers.
The #Titans will see an old adversary in Week 1 in DeAndre Hopkins. In 13 career games vs. the Titans, Hopkins has 83 receptions (128 targets) for 1,313 yards & seven TDs. His best NFL game to date remains his 9 catches (9 targets) for 238 yards & 2 TDs vs. Titans on 11/30/14.
— Titans247 (@NFL_Titans247) May 12, 2021
The story lines don’t stop there.
Cornerback Malcolm Butler was a salary cap casualty this offseason after spending the past three seasons in Tennessee. Butler signed with the Cardinals on a one-year deal worth $3.25 million Not only will it be the first look at Butler in a Cardinals uniform for Titans’ fans, but it also provides one of the best matchups in all of football to open the season as Butler will be lining up across from his former teammate A.J. Brown.
A few Week 1 WR vs. CB showdowns:
*Allen Robinson vs. Jalen Ramsey
*Amari Cooper vs. Carlton Davis
*Davante Adams vs. Marshon Lattimore
*A.J. Brown vs. Malcolm Butler
*Julio Jones vs. Darius Slay
*Michael Thomas vs. Jaire Alexander
— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) May 12, 2021
The Cardinals also added former Houston Texan J.J. Watt in the offseason. Watt has wreaked havoc on the Titans’ offensive line since he arrived in Houston in 2011. With the Titans selection of OT Dillon Radunz in the second round of this year’s draft, his first assignment could very well be holding off one of the NFL’s most feared veteran pass rushers.
Since Mike Vrabel took over, the Titans have impressed in their season openers. The team holds a 2-1 record in Week One during the Vrabel era, with their only loss coming to the Miami Dolphins. Titans fans may well remember the marathon game, which lasted seven hours and eight minutes in 2018 when Ryan Tannehill was quarterbacking the Adam Gase-led Dolphins.
#Titans are 2-1 on opening weekend under Mike Vrabel (with the one loss being the Murphy’s Law game in Miami) and are 8-1 in games with 10 or more days to prepare (again, the one loss is his debut game in Miami).
— Mike Herndon (@MikeMiracles) May 12, 2021
A bit of an outlier.
DraftKings Sportsbook currently has the Titans listed as 2.5-point favorites over Arizona with the point total set at 51.5.
The Titans’ last meeting with the Cardinals came in 2017, with Arizona outlasting the impotent Tennessee offense by the score of 12-7 behind four field goals from Phil Dawson. Demarco Murray led the Titans in rushing with 34 yards as Marcus Mariota threw for 159 yards and two interceptions.
Needless to say, a lot has changed for both teams since then.
Featured image courtesy of Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports