The Arizona Cardinals and Tennessee Titans will square off in the preseason finale for both teams on Saturday night. Both teams have split their first two exhibition games heading into the matchup at Nissan Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.
The Cardinals are coming off a 24-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. Arizona allowed three TD passes and fell behind 24-3 before adding two fourth-quarter TDs. Trace McSorley, who is competing for the No. 3 QB job, was intercepted twice. The Cardinals were also held to 55 rushing yards.
Tennessee scored a 13-3 victory over Tampa Bay last Saturday. Rookie quarterback Malik Willis threw his first TD pass in a pro uniform. He also rushed for 42 yards. The Titans’ defense forced three turnovers, including two fumbles, and registered four sacks.
Most of the Tennessee starters were held out again in the second preseason game, and the Cardinals played it cautious as well against Baltimore. In the final exhibition matchup, we should see starters from both teams play for at least a limited spell.
The teams tuned up against each other this week in a joint practice on Wednesday. Some final battles for depth positions on both sides should be determined this week, but we could get a decent preview of the regular season squads for a short period.
Cardinals vs Titans Odds
Our NFL odds reveal that the Titans are expected to finish the preseason with consecutive wins. This game will be decided by the backups, and the Arizona reserves on offense won’t produce much against a Tennessee defense that is coming off a strong performance.
Meanwhile, Willis is still developing, but he can make splash plays at times. He should be able to push the Titans ahead before they turn to third-stringer Logan Woodside.
Cardinals vs Titans Implied Score
Titans 19.25, Cardinals 16.25
The bookmakers are forecasting a low-scoring affair between these teams, and that makes a lot of sense from the Tennessee side. The Titans have scored only two offensive touchdowns in two preseason games so far, both by Willis on a rushing score and a TD pass. They also bounced back defensively from allowing 23 points in their exhibition opener with the three-point shutdown of the Buccaneers.
The Cardinals opened the preseason with a 36-point showing against Cincinnati before struggling in the first three quarters last week, so they appear to be less predictable heading into their preseason finale.
Cardinals vs Titans Pick of the Day
Read more on this Cardinals vs Titans bet below.
Cardinals vs Titans Matchup
How much we will see of both team’s starters is uncertain, but this matchup should be decided by the featured reserves. Willis can be a pivotal factor in how this game turns out, while McSorley and Jarrett Guarantano will likely finish off their battle for the depth chart spot behind Kyler Murray and Colt McCoy.
If we see Murray and McCoy get enough playing time, the Cardinals should have a better chance of staying in the game and soaring over the implied score. Andy Isabella has been the team’s most productive wide receiver in the first two exhibition games, catching nine passes for 111 yards. But McSorley has been the team’s leading rusher, with 37 yards on nine carries.
Against Tampa Bay, linebacker Joseph Jones had a 38-yard interception return and LB Rashad Weaver had a sack and a fumble recovery. The secondary also played well, holding two Buccaneers QBs to 118 passing yards. Tennessee’s offense has not generated much scoring production so far this preseason, but Willis has flashed a lot of promise at times.
Cardinals vs Titans Prediction
Titans 20, Cardinals 14
We cannot expect to see significant production from any of Tennessee’s projected regular season starters. They must play it carefully with Derrick Henry and Robert Woods. One focus may be to get the ball more to top rookie Treylon Burks, who has one reception for four yards in the preseason.
There is certainly an opportunity for the Tennessee passing game to show some improvement against a Cardinals secondary that was lit up by Baltimore last week. According to Pro Football Focus, the Ravens’ QBs had a perfect 158.3 passer rating against the unit while the Cardinals’ secondary allowed 10 receptions on 12 targets for 153 yards and two TDs.
The Titans do need better passing out of Willis and Woodside to take advantage of the matchup. Willis has looked dazzling as a runner, but he has been erratic as a passer, completing 46.4 percent of his attempts. It is apparent that he is a project in that regard, but Willis has also provided some glimpses of promise.
Woodside has three interceptions in two exhibition games and cannot make more mistakes. The Titans will have to build a lead before he enters the game, and can lean on Willis to challenge the defense as a runner, as he has rushed for 80 yards in two preseason games. Dontrell Hilliard could add some early spark to the ground game and undrafted rookie Julius Chestnut has been effective, averaging 4.6 yards per carry.
Tennessee can win this one with respectable offensive balance and another quality defensive performance against the backup Arizona quarterbacks. We’re not going to see the Cardinals’ offense truly let loose until the regular season, and the reserves were mostly uninspiring in last week’s loss. But Arizona may be able to muster a TD before the third-string passers enter the game.
Willis can be the key to the Titans’ victory, as his presence keeps any defense off balance as to whether he will run, hand off or pass. Tennessee’s wide receivers beyond Woods and Burks may be notable contributors this week. Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, Dez Fitpatrick, and Kyle Phillips can do enough to ensure that Tennessee has an offensive edge.
Cardinals vs Titans Bet Tips
If these teams were matched up during the regular season, we would likely see the Titans rely on Henry to control the clock and keep the Arizona offense off the field as much as possible. But in this exhibition matchup, the Cardinals offense certainly won’t be anywhere as potent as it will when play begins for real.
- The Under is 4-1 in Arizona’s last five games.
- The Under is 5-0 in Tennessee’s last five home games.
- The Cardinals are 1-5 ATS in their last six games.
- Arizona has won four of its last five meetings against Tennessee.
Cardinals vs Titans Best Bets
Under 35.5 Points (-110) at BetMGM Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 Unit
Neither team is going to open things up much offensively here, as the Titans won’t be explosive even during the regular season. They were the AFC’s most run-heavy team last season and also traded away their best wide receiver, A.J. Brown, during the offseason.
At this early point of his career, Willis looks like a raw version of Lamar Jackson. He already can challenge defenses with his running abilities, but he needs fine-tuning as a passer. To score more than two touchdowns this week, Tennessee may have to hope the Cardinals’ pass defense looks worse than it did against Baltimore, and that isn’t likely to happen after Arizona watched the film of that loss.
The Titans should operate respectably on offense, but once Arizona’s offensive starters go to the sidelines, points may be hard to come by. The two teams will struggle to reach the Over, as we don’t anticipate the Cardinals’ backup QBs and RBs putting together a few solid scoring drives.
Titans -3 (-110) at BetMGM Sportsbook
WAGER: 2 Units
The Titans have not shown much life in the passing game in their first two preseason outings, but it’s going to be a while until we see Willis again, so he will want to finish his preseason with a flourish. The back seven on defense was aggressive and tenacious last week, and sustaining that momentum should lead to a victory to finish out the exhibition part of the schedule.
Missed tackles on defense were an issue for the Cardinals last week, and that does not bode well for them against Willis and the Tennessee running backs. If Arizona cannot coax better play out of its running backs, then their QBs will be forced into adverse passing situations.
The Tennessee defense should be a big key to confirming this as our NFL pick of the day.