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Free Pick: Arizona at Tennessee 9/12/21
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Free Pick: Arizona at Tennessee 9/12/21

The Titans have been battling COVID the past week but they appear to be getting some players back, most notably, quarterback Ryan Tannehill. This is a good opening game matchup between these two teams. The Titans are the favorites to win the AFC South and Arizona is a good team playing in the league’s toughest division, the NFC West. Let’s break it down.

The Cardinals had a shot at the playoffs going into the last game in 2020. They are led by the exciting quarterback play of Kyler Murray. He passed for 3971 yards with 26 of those resulting in touchdowns. He also rushed for an additional 819 yards and 11 more touchdowns. Obviously, he has got to stay healthy in order for Arizona to be successful. That’s not an easy thing to do when he has the ball in his hands on every play. They will start Chase Edmonds at running back and picked up James Conner from Pittsburgh in the offseason. The wide receivers are led by DeAndre Hopkins (115 catches for 1407 yards) and A.J. Green who is coming off a down year with Cincinnati. They also are high on tight end, Christian Kirk who had a solid 2020.

Defensively, the Cardinals acquired J.J.Watt from the Texans, hoping he can stay healthy and and have a big year in 2021. Linebackers are young and talented, led by 2nd-year guy, Isaiah Simmons, and rookie Zaven Collins. In the secondary, Budda Baker had a great year with 118 tackles and two interceptions but after him, there are concerns.

Coach Kliff Kingsbury is on the hot seat in the eyes of many because of some questionable coaching decisions that didn’t work out. He is entering his 3rd season as the head guy and under his guidance, they improved by 3 wins from season one to season two.

Tennessee is coming off an 11-6 season from last year and are expected to win the AFC South. They have a balanced offense that is difficult to contend with. Quarterback, Ryan Tannehill was questionable to play because of COVID, but he is listed as the starter. He is coming off a solid 2020 where is threw for 3819 yards and 33 touchdowns. The Titans will take that again this year. Running back, Derrick Henry is the best in the NFL and he will be expected to continue his incredible play in 2021. Wide receiver, A.J. Brown has big-play capabilities and can also catch the tough ones in traffic. The Titans also acquired former Pro-Bowler, Julio Jones and they are hoping he has something left in the tank. The offensive line is a strength and should be even better in 2021.

Defense was a sore spot a year ago and a lot of effort in the offseason was spent on upgrading that unit. They brought in Denico Autry at defensive end and hope he can take some of the pressure off of Jeffrey Simmons. The Titans acquired Bud Dupree at linebacker and he will be joined by Harold Landry The secondary will be overhauled with the exception of leading tackler Kevin Byard and Amani Hooper. They also added Janoris Jenkins and he will be a good addition.

Tennessee is coached by Mike Vrabel who is entering his 4th season after accumulating a record of 31-21 in his first 3 years. He has generally done an admirable job and is given credit for the Titans success the last two years.

Tennessee is favored by 3 points and is one the teams that has chance to make a run at the Super Bowl. The Cardinals generally don’t play well on the road and Nashville will be rocking on Sunday. This should be a very good game between two quality teams.


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