NASHVILLE, Tenn. --This week the Tennessee Titans (5-8) play their first home game since Nov. 14, hosting the NFC Wild Card hopeful Arizona Cardinals (8-5). The kickoff at LP Field (capacity 69,143) was flexed from its original time and now is scheduled for 3:25 p.m. CST on Sunday, Dec. 15.
This week's game will be televised regionally on Fox, including Nashville affiliate WZTV Fox 17. Justin Kutcher will handle play-by-play duties while Charles Davis provides analysis and Kristina Pink reports from the sidelines.
The Titans Radio Network, including Nashville flagship 104.5 The Zone, will broadcast the game across the Mid-South with the "Voice of the Titans" Mike Keith, analyst Frank Wycheck, sideline reporter Cody Allison and gameday host Larry Stone.
LAST WEEK AT DENVER
The Titans traveled to Denver last week and built an early lead, only to fall to the Broncos by a final score of 51-28.
The Titans scored three rushing touchdowns—two by Shonn Greene and one by Chris Johnson—and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick added a 41-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Justin Hunter in the loss.
Hunter, with four catches for a career-high 114 yards, reached the 100-yard receiving mark for the second time in three weeks. The second-round pick from the University of Tennessee has 18 receptions for 354 yards and four touchdowns, and one more touchdown reception would give him the most by a Titans rookie since Chris Sanders (nine) in 1995.
Fitzpatrick was starting his fourth consecutive game since Jake Locker was lost for the year with a foot injury. In his first season in Tennessee, Fitzpatrick has completed 149 of 242 passes for 1,705 yards, nine touchdowns and eight interceptions.
The Cardinals currently reside in third place in the NFC West, trailing the Seattle Seahawks (11-2) by three games and the San Francisco 49ers (9-4) by one game. However, they are one of the leading contenders for one of two NFC Wild Card berths. Their .615 winning percentage is the third-best among non-division leaders in their conference with three weeks remaining in the regular season (through games of Dec. 8).
The Cardinals are in their first season under head coach Bruce Arians. A longtime assistant and offensive coordinator in the college and NFL ranks—he also was a head coach at Temple (1983 to 1988)—Arians was hired in Arizona after spending the 2012 campaign as offensive coordinator with the Indianapolis Colts. The one-year stint also included a run of 12 games as interim Colts head coach while Chuck Pagano was away from the team being treated for leukemia.
Cardinals starting quarterback Carson Palmer was brought to Arizona in a trade with the Oakland Raiders in April. This season, his 11th NFL in the NFL, the two-time Pro Bowl selection has completed 301 of 468 passes for 3,458 yards, 20 touchdowns and 17 interceptions (85.6 passer rating).
Palmer's primary target is Larry Fitzgerald, who has made the Pro Bowl in seven of his 10 NFL seasons. Earlier in the year, the former first-round pick became the youngest player in NFL history to reach 11,000 career receiving yards. Through 13 games in 2013, he has 67 catches for 774 yards and 10 touchdowns.
On the other side of the ball, the Cardinals field the NFL's fifth-ranked defense. With standouts on each level of their defense like cornerback Patrick Peterson, defensive tackle Darnell Dockett, and linebackers John Abraham and Daryl Washington, the Cardinals rank third in defending the rush and 11th in defending the pass.
U.S. MARINE CORPS TOYS FOR TOTS DRIVE
Prior to the game, fans are encouraged to participate in the annual U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots Drive. New, unwrapped toys can be dropped off with members of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve stationed outside of the gates at LP Field. All toys collected during the drive will be used in the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program and distributed to children in Middle Tennessee.