A pair of teams that lucked into covers last weekend look for better this week on ESPN’s Monday Night Football betting battle between the Arizona Cardinals and the Tennessee Titans.
Arizona needed three scores in the final nine minutes of its game against the Houston Texans to pick up a victory in Week 1 of the preseason. QB Matt Leinart put up respectable numbers in his 2010 debut as a starter, going 6-of-7 for 49 yards. However, the offensive line, which had a miserable game, allowed two sacks to DE Mario Williams that quelled drives. That OL also was atrocious in the rushing game, as no one for the Cardinals rushed for more than 36 yards on the day. The real travesty came in the yards per carry area, where Arizona only mustered a woeful 3.2 YPC. Both backup QB Derek Anderson and third stringer QB John Skelton led the boys from the desert on touchdown drives in the fourth quarter, with Skelton tossing the game winner with less than two minutes to play. The rookie from Fordham was particularly impressive for the Cards, as he went 5-of-6 for 84 yards with that TD and looked incredibly sharp in the pocket. This could become a very interesting situation to watch, as Leinart might be on shaky ground and a very short leash, especially at the outset of the regular season.
The Titans started well and finished well, and in spite of the fact that they hit the backdoor for a cover, a 20-18 defeat against the Seattle Seahawks was the end result. Still, head coach Jeff Fisher has to be thrilled about the fact that his offense marched right down the field and scored early in the first quarter and that his third stringers were able to score twice in the dying minutes of the game to fight back from a big deficit. The problem came in the middle of it all, where the host Seahawks went on a 20-0 run to break the Titans’ back. Both QB Vince Young and QB Rusty Smith were guilty of an interception on the day. Smith is competing with QB Chris Simms for the third string job. The former Texas Longhorn went 7-of-13 and threw for just 24 yards, getting sacked twice in the process. Tennessee only managed to muster 260 total yards of offense on the day and turned the pigskin over three times.
Neither one of these teams have been particularly impressive yet this year, and thoug hwe like the quarterback rotation for Arizona, particularly on the back end, we aren’t so sure that the bright lights of Monday Night Football are going to lead to a lot of points. In fact, we are expecting quite the opposite, as both defenses will want to improve on their lapses from the first week of the year.
NFL Picks Selection: Arizona Cardinals/Tennessee Titans Under 37