The NFL isn’t unveiling the entire slate of 2021 regular season schedules until later today, but the broadcast networks like Fox and CBS gave everyone a sneak peek this morning by unveiling the Week 1 games. In addition, several rumors regarding other games (some more believable than others) are now circulating social media.
The Cardinals are not a common opponent. The two teams last played on December 10, 2017. The Cardinals won that game 12-7. Marcus Mariota was 16/31 for 159 yards and two interceptions. It was just as bad as it sounds.
They may not play in the same conference, but Titans players will recognize several of their opponents during Week 1. The Cardinals signed former Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler to a one-year deal after Butler was released by the Titans. It sets up a juicy revenge storyline for Butler. It won’t be easy, though. Butler will likely see plenty of A.J. Brown in coverage. It’s a match-up that we’re already looking forward to.
Other than Butler, Titans fans will recognise former Texans EDGE rusher J.J. Watt. Watt had a fun experience in free agency as he was being courted by several franchises. He received interest from a bunch of teams, so it was a bit of a minor surprise when he announced that he was signing with the Cardinals.
Watt will be getting used to his surroundings in the NFC, but he likely smiled from ear-to-ear when he heard who his Week 1 opponent was. From Watt’s perspective, what better way to get used to a new team than to play the Titans in Week 1? Of Watt’s 101 career sacks, 18 of them have come against the Titans. That’s nearly 20% of his sack total. It’s worth mentioning that he’s also sacked Jaguars quarterbacks 18 times.
He’s not a familiar foe, but the Titans brass will also get a look at linebacker Zaven Collins in his first career game, who the Cardinals drafted in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. The Titans showed a ton of interest in Collins throughout the predraft process. General manager Jon Robinson personally worked Collins out at his Pro Day. You don’t see that every day.
Titans GM Jon Robinson running the LB drills at Zaven Collins’ pro day pic.twitter.com/t4F2ISgj8t— Andrew Groover (@APGroover) April 2, 2021
I’m also excited and curious to see how a new-look Titans defense, particularly the secondary, fairs against an explosive Cardinals offense that features Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green.
You couldn’t write up a better storyline for this one.
What do you all think of the team’s Week 1 matchup? Excited? Intimidated? Let me know how you’re feeling!