Cardinals, Titans open season each with several new players
ARIZONA (8-8) at TENNESSEE (11-5)
Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT, CBS
OPENING LINE: Titans by 3, according to FanDuel SportsBook
SERIES RECORD: Cardinals lead 7-4
LAST MEETING: Cardinals beat Titans 12-7 on Dec. 10, 2017, in Arizona
CARDINALS OFFENSE: OVERALL (6), RUSH (7), PASS (17), SCORING (13).
CARDINALS DEFENSE: OVERALL (13), RUSH (22), PASS (10), SCORING (12).
TITANS OFFENSE: OVERALL (t-2), RUSH (2), PASS (23), SCORING (4).
TITANS DEFENSE: OVERALL (28), RUSH (19), PASS (29), SCORING (24).
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Cardinals 0; Titans plus-11
CARDINALS PLAYER TO WATCH: WR DeAndre Hopkins. He has caught more passes (83) for more yards (1,313) against the Titans than any other opponent in his career, all while with Houston. He’s gone for at least 100 yards in four of his last six games against Tennessee.
TITANS PLAYER TO WATCH: WR Julio Jones. He makes his debut averaging 95.5 yards receiving per game, the most in NFL history with a minimum of 100 games. The former Falcon ranks fourth all-time with 58 games with at least 100 yards receiving.
KEY MATCHUP: DE J.J. Watt in his Cardinals debut against either Titans LT Taylor Lewan in his first game back from a torn right ACL, or Watt’s former teammate David Quessenberry named the starting right tackle Friday. Watt has 18 sacks against the Titans as a Texan, along with nine forced fumbles and two fumbles recovered in 15 games.
KEY INJURIES: Titans WR A.J. Brown and Cardinals LB Dennis Gardeck, who had seven sacks last season, both on the initial injury report with knee issues.
SERIES NOTES: This will be only the 12th game between these teams and the first time they have met in a season opener. Arizona has won the last two but the last three have been decided by a combined 11 points. Each of the first two games between these teams played at Nissan Stadium came down to the final play. This is the first time the Cardinals have opened on the road against an AFC team since 1997 in a visit to Cincinnati.
STATS AND STUFF: Arizona’s Kyler Murray became the second quarterback in NFL history to throw for at least 25 touchdowns (26) and run for at least 10 TDs (11) in a single season, joining Cam Newton. ... Murray had nine games with both a TD pass and TD run, the most by a quarterback in a single season. ... WR Green and RB James Conner make their Arizona debuts. ... Titans QB Ryan Tannehill threw for 3,819 yards and a career-high 33 TDs last season. He ranked fifth in the NFL with a 106.5 passer rating. He and Patrick Mahomes are the only AFC QBs with a passer rating higher than 105 each of the past two seasons. ... Titans RB Derrick Henry ran for the fifth-most yards in NFL history with 2,027 yards last season. He averaged 100.8 yards per game at home in 2020 with six TD runs.
FANTASY TIP: Titans WR Brown. A Pro Bowler in his second season, Brown could benefit both from having Jones on the other side plus Henry’s runs opening up passing lanes. Brown had six TD catches in seven home games last season.
More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL