Tennessee Titans schedule: Intriguing Cardinals stats ahead of Week 1

Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals (Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports Images)
Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals (Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports Images) /

We made it folks! Once the calendar turns its page from September 5th to the 6th, you won’t have to endure another Sunday for the rest of 2021 that doesn’t include NFL action. The Tennessee Titans begin their quest for a second-consecutive AFC South crown (and hopefully more) with a home date, one that welcomes the Arizona Cardinals to Nissan Stadium.

The Titans should and probably will be favored, but the Cards aren’t a team that Tennessee sees much. Unless both squads luck up and make it to football’s biggest game, the Super Bowl. They’ll typically only meet on the field to face one another once every four years.

Arizona has some nice pieces. They’re a team that looks like they’re hungry to take the next step, but the NFC West also houses the San Francisco 49ers, the Los Angeles Rams, and the Seattle Seahawks, That might make the Cards that division’s worst team.

Tennessee still shouldn’t take them lightly because if they do, the home team will walk out of Nissan Stadium with an 0-1 record. With that being said, let’s take a moment here and dig a little deeper.

A Tennessee Titans, Week 1 win could be as easy as understanding the numbers.

Three preseason games are in the books, and much of what we know about Kliff Kingsbury’s team comes from what we saw a season ago. Here are a few stats that are very intriguing and a few thoughts that come as a result.

1. The Cards gave up 4.6 yards per rush in 2020.

If you’re among the contingent that believes Derrick Henry can, again, rush for 2,000 yards this season, you’ll be thrilled by the fact that the Cardinals’ defense finished in the bottom fourth of the league in terms of rushing defense.

4.6 yards given up per tote was good for a ranking of 25th a season ago. The 125 yards per game that they gave up was good enough (or in this case, bad enough) for a ranking of 22nd. They drafted Zaven Collins 16th-overall to help with that, but King Henry should have his share of opportunities. That defense of his rushing title should get off to a good start.

2. Kyler Murray threw for 3,971 yards and 26 touchdowns in 2020.

Much is made about how talented Kyler Murray is when he takes off and runs and for good reason, but he’s also a near-elite thrower of the football. He can be reckless at times (12 interceptions in each of his first two seasons), but his ability to scramble (1363 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns in 32 in-game appearances) will, no doubt, have Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Shane Bowen up late on the eve of this one.

Trending. 11 Cardinals to watch in Week 1. light

3. DeAndre Hopkins figures to give the Tennessee Titans secondary a workout.

Much has been made about the Tennessee Titans’ inability to get to the quarterback in 2020. They’ve made valuable additions in the form of Denico Autry, Bud Dupree, and rookie Rashad Weaver, but it’s Jackrabbit Jenkins, Kristian Fulton, Elijah Molden, and Caleb Farley who will try to limit Arizona’s receivers to give those guys a chance to get home.

Larry Fitgerald is gone, but the Cards added A.J. Green. DeAndre Hopkins again proved his mettle with 115 receptions for 1,407 receiving yards and six touchdowns while Christian Kirk snagged 48 receptions for 621 yards and six trips to the end zone. The Titans secondary should have their hands full all day with these guys.