Quarterback Matt Leinart will get a chance to prove to the country that he is ready to take over for Kurt Warner as the Cardinals battle the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football. Leinart and the first string did not play well last week but Arizona came back to beat Houston in preseason play as the reserves rallied from 16 points down in the fourth quarter to win 19-16. The Titans starters played well last week but their backups let Seattle come back and Tennessee lost 20-18.
Tennessee is a 4 point favorite with a total of 37 at SBG Sportsbook.
The Cardinals will not be at full strength on Monday as wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Early Doucet are out. The Cardinals might end up starting undrafted rookie Stephen Williams at one of the wide receiver spots opposite Steve Breaston. The Titans have a couple injuries of their own as wide receiver Justin Gage and cornerback Cortland Finnegan will not play.
The attention on Monday will be focused on Leinart. He was six of seven last week for 49 yards but the Cardinals didn’t get any points when Leinart was in the game. He really wants to prove to everyone that he is ready to be a quality starting quarterback in the NFL. The Cardinals really don’t have much choice as the backup behind Leinart is Derek Anderson and he was terrible last week. He was 13 of 22 with two interceptions. Last year Anderson threw three TDs and 10 interceptions for Cleveland and he looks no better this year. The Cardinals best quarterback might be rookie John Skelton but Arizona is not going to give him the starting job unless Leinart is horrible.
Tennessee has a better backup quarterback situation than Arizona. You might not realize it though if you looked at last week’s boxscore. The Titans held out backup Kerry Collins but he is expected to play this week. The Titans are a lot better team to take in the preseason with Collins as the backup to Vince Young. The third string quarterback would then be Chris Simms and he has NFL experience. Last week it was Rusty Smith who got much of the playing time in the second half for Tennessee.
The Cardinals and Titans don’t have much of a NFL preseason betting history. Since Tennessee moved from Houston the teams have met just once and that was back in 1999 when the Cardinals won 27-17 at home.