The Titans head west to take on the Cardinals in a game they must win to keep pace for the division lead and a Wild Card sport. For the Cardinals, their season is pretty much over with. Mathematics aside, the Cardinals have no chance at catching the Rams for the division or the two teams currently occupying the NFC Wild Card spots. This Arizona home game is mostly for pride and backups looking to keep their jobs. But, the Titans can’t take the Cardinals lightly because they did just knock off the Jaguars two weeks ago. That’s the same team that Tennessee is tied with at the top of the AFC South. Kickoff inside the University of Phoenix Stadiums is at 4:05 PM ET.
Since 2005, these teams have played 3 times and the Cardinals have a 2-1 advantage. They last played in 2013 and Arizona won that game 37-34.
The Titans (8-4) are 3-3 on the road and have won two games straight. Both of those games were against divisional foes and they both required 4th quarter efforts to pull out the wins. The Titans are trying to keep pace with the Jaguars for the AFC South lead. Additionally, should the Jaguars take the division, the Titans can still win one of the two AFC Wild Card spots.
Arizona (5-7) is 3-3 at home and is coming off a home defeat to the Rams. The loss put them back 4 games in the division and 3 games in the Wild Card race. With just 4 games left in the season, the Cardinals have no real shot at the playoffs. Most of their troubles can be directly attributed to injuries this season. Despite these troubles, the Cardinals still have a defense that’s good enough to keep a struggling Titans offense from winning the game.
The spread opened with Arizona getting 3 points and it remains unchanged. The Over/Under opened at 44.5 points and it has gone down to 44 total points.
With the offensive struggles that the Titans are experiencing, most notably at the QB position, I think this game is going to come down to a last minute score and I think that it will favor the Cardinals. I like this team getting 3 points at home against a Titans team that can only muster up 215 passing yards per game. With a solid secondary, I expect the Cardinals to shut down Tennessee’s passing attack and load the box to contain a rushing offense that averages 122.1 ypg.
Offensively, the Cardinals can’t run the ball as they’re only averaging 76.6 ypg. The good thing is that most teams don’t fare well against the Titans on the ground as their rush defense only allows 86.2 ypg, but their pass defense gives up 256.8 ypg. That bodes well for a Cardinals offense that’s gaining 269.8 ypg through the air. I expect Gabbert to lead the charge this weekend as he throws for at least 250 yards, 3 TDs and 1 INT.
The Titans QB situation has been a disappointment this year. Marcus Mariota has had a difficult season passing the ball. His TD to INT ratio is 10-to-12 and I believe that will cause problems for him on the road in AZ against a feisty defense.
Tennessee is 2-3-1 ATS n their last 6 games, 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games, and 5-15 ATS against teams with a losing record. Arizona is 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games following a game where they allowed an opponent to score at least 30 points. Last week, they lost 32-16 to the Rams.
I expect the Cardinals to make life hard for Mariota on Sunday. The young QB will struggle and possibly turn the ball over a few times. The Titans will try to rely on their solid run game, but the Cardinals should be up for the challenge. Offensively, Arizona will put points on the board by throwing the ball up and down the field. This game will be close due to both defenses, but I like the Cardinals at home 23-20.