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Cardinals vs. Titans Free NFL Picks for Week 1

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Cardinals vs. Titans Free NFL Picks for Week 1
Running back Derrick Henry #22 of the Tennessee Titans rushes against the Baltimore Ravens. Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images/AFP

Two of the more intriguing teams in the league face off in Week 1 of the NFL season this Sunday and I will be paying attention to how each of them fares in the opener. In the meantime, let’s take a look at the NFL odds for this game.

Arizona Cardinals vs. Tennessee Titans

Sunday, September 12, 2021 – 01:00 PM EDT at Nissan Stadium

Can Murray Take Them to the Playoffs?

As one of the more electric QB's in the league Kyler Murray makes the Cardinals fun to watch every time they take to the field. He’s mobile, has a good arm, and is willing to make plays where few others would be able to, but can he and the team put it all together this season?

It’s a tough ask in probably the toughest division in football and the NFL bookmakers have them as the least likely to win the division. If they were placed in several others around the league they’d probably be the favorites for a division win.

There’s hope this year though, they have one of the best WRs in the game in DeAndre Hopkins and have paired him with one of the best of the last decade in AJ Green who they’ll be hoping regains some form without the main coverage on him. On top of that, they drafted talented rookie Rondale Moore who should make an immediate impact.

Murray may well lead them in rushing, but the duo of Chase Edmonds and James Connor can put in shifts when required although I’m not overly convinced by either of them personally.

Whatever happens to them this season they’ll be fun to watch and should be involved in high-scoring games, including this one.

Can the Titans Retain Their Red-Zone Efficiency?

The Titans are a team I struggle with, they have a very good game plan and very few teams seem able to stop it in the regular season. Admittedly when you’ve got a 240lb beast of a running back charging at you 30 times a game I can see why teams struggle to slow them, but you’d think someone would have figured something out by now!

It’s a great plan and it works so even with a new offensive coordinator after Arthur Smith left to take the helm at the Falcons I don’t see any reason why it would be any different this year, run Henry, run him some more than use play-action off of that with some elite pass-catchers.

AJ Brown has the potential to be the best in the league, a YAC (Yards After Catch) monster who can take it to the house from anywhere, great to watch week in, week out, and this year he’s got arguably the best of the last decade playing opposite him with Julio Jones signing in the summer.

Julio has always put up the yards in Atlanta without many TDs, something that may well change under this regime this year.

Quarterback Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals scrambles out of the pocket against the Kansas City Chiefs on August 20, 2021. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP

Who Gets Their Season off to the Flyer on Sunday Night?

It’s a tough one to call in week one. My first thought is to lean to the AFC side as I feel it’s a better conference on a weekly basis.

If it comes down to coaching then there’s only one winner here, the Titans are one of the more efficient teams in the league scoring a TD on 75% of their visits to the red zone last year and despite the loss of Jonnu Smith who was a big contributor to that stat-line I think they’ll keep up those numbers.

They have struggled to rush the passer though and while I think they’ve improved in that area it will help Murray and the Cardinals who should be able to give Kyler more time in the pocket than he’s been used to in his time in Arizona.

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The Pick

The total is 52 at the best online sportsbooks which is very fair.

I do think it could be a high-scoring affair, but I’m going to take the hosts on the handicap here for my NFL pick and trust that they’ll do their job well.

NFL Pick: (visit our Sportsbook Review)

*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.