The Arizona Cardinals won their season opener for a second consecutive season on Sunday, thrashing the Tennessee Titans, 38-13 on the road.
The Cardinals’ season-opening success came during the opening weekend of Arizona NFL betting. The Cardinals entered as a consensus underdog, with most Arizona sports betting apps listing the visitors as 2.5-point or 3-point dogs.
Arizona sports betting went live on Sept. 9.
Week 2 Expectations
Arizona’s surprising Week 1 success has caught the eye of oddsmakers, who have listed the Cardinals as a favorite over the Minnesota Vikings in Sunday’s Week 2 contest.
The Cardinals and Vikings will play at Glendale’s State Farm Stadium at 1:05 p.m. Arizona time, with FOX carrying the contest nationally.
The Vikings are coming off a Week 1 loss to Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, with the home team pulling off a 27-24 overtime win as a 3-point underdog.
The Cardinals will look to maximize their newfound pass-rushing acumen against a Vikings offensive line that surrendered three sacks to the Bengals.
If Arizona can put as much pressure on Vikings QB Kirk Cousins as they did on Tennessee’s Ryan Tannehill, then Sunday could be another success story for head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s team.
Cardinals’ History Against Vikings
The Arizona Cardinals and Minnesota Vikings have squared off 28 times, dating to 1963, with the Vikings holding a 17-11 lead in the series.
The two sides last played each other in 2018, when the Vikings won, 27-17, clinching Minnesota’s second consecutive victory over the Cardinals.
Arizona beat Minnesota 23-20 the last time the teams met at State Farm Stadium, in 2015. The Cardinals have won three of their last four home games against the Vikings, dating to 2003.
Recap of Cardinals Week 1 Win
The Cardinals took charge quickly on Sunday once third-year quarterback Kyler Murray connected early and often with veteran wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
The two hooked up for two first-half touchdowns, the first of which was a 5-yard score in the game’s opening quarter. The the latter was a 17-yard strike early in the game’s second stanza.
Murray continued his dual-threat wizardry from there, scoring on a 2-yard run to give Arizona a 24-6 halftime lead.
The former Heisman Trophy winner added two more touchdown passes in the third quarter, connecting with Scottsdale native Christian Kirk on both to cement Arizona’s one-sided victory.
Murray finished Sunday’s opener with 289 passing yards, four touchdown passes and that rushing score.
Perhaps more impressive was the performance turned in by Arizona’s defense, which held Tennessee to 248 offensive yards and forced three turnovers in the victory.
Linebacker Isaiah Simmons forced an interception and Chandler Jones finished with a team record five sacks for the Cardinals in Sunday’s win, while defensive coordinator Vance Joseph’s swarming defensive schemes forced two fumbles in the team’s one-sided romp.
What People are Saying About the Arizona Cardinals?
The consensus from social media on Sunday about the Cardinals was that the team looks like a legitimate contender to win the NFC West in 2021.
Beat writer Johnny Venerable was among those that took to Twitter to praise the team’s execution against the Titans, tweeting: “The Arizona Cardinals throttle Tennessee while putting the rest of the NFL on notice.”
Even sportsbook operators, such as BetMGM, took to Twitter to vouch for the performance that Kingsbury and company turned in.
ESPN Arizona Cardinals beat writer Josh Weinfuss touched on a similar topic in his postgame commentary, praising the game plan turned in by Kingsbury and Joseph, while previewing how wide open the NFL West is this season.
“This was the Cardinals most dominant game under Kliff Kingsbury and maybe the best defensive showing under Vance Joseph,” Weinfuss’ tweet read. “The NFC West is going to be nuts this season.”