Week 1 matchup for Arizona Cardinals just got a lot tougher

(John Bazemore/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports) Julio Jones
(John Bazemore/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports) Julio Jones /

When the Arizona Cardinals take the field for Week 1 of the 2021 season, they will be facing a Tennessee Titans team that now features Julio Jones.

When the 2021 schedule was revealed in May, the Arizona Cardinals found out that they will be taking on a Tennesse Titans team that has earned a spot in the playoffs during each of the last two seasons.

In addition to the Titans being a top contender for the last two years, the Cardinals will have to head out on the road for this Week 1 matchup.

Opening up their 2021 season with a victory was already going to be difficult for Arizona. But on Sunday, this Week 1 game got even harder after Tennessee acquired All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones in a trade with the Atlanta Falcons.

Arizona Cardinals will now have to take on Julio Jones in Week 1 vs. the Tennessee Titans

For the last few weeks, there have been rumors circulating around the NFL about Jones‘ desire for the Falcons to trade him to another team before the start of the 2021 season. Some even thought the Cardinals could’ve been a potential landing spot for the All-Pro Atlanta receiver.

But on Sunday, Atlanta officially decided to part ways with their all-time leading pass-catcher when they sent him to the Titans in exchange for a 2022 second-round draft pick, a 2023 fourth-round selection, and a 2023 sixth-round pick in 2023.

So now, instead of Arizona having the potential lethal receiving duo of Jones and DeAndre Hopkins next season, they will have to try and prevent the former Falcons wide receiver from torching their defense in Week 1.

In 2020, Jones only finished with 51 catches for 771 yards and three touchdowns in nine games. But just a season earlier in 2019, he ended up with 99 receptions for 1,394 yards and six scores. So even after a disappointing performance in 2020, Jones is still capable of putting up impressive numbers.

The last time the Cardinals went up against the All-Pro receiver was in 2019 when he hauled in eight passes for 108 yards as a member of Atlanta.

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With Jones, A.J. Brown, and Derrick Henry, Arizona’s defense will have their hands full during their first game of the 2021 season. Will the Cardinals be able to contain a potentially explosive Tennessee offense to leave the field in Week 1 with a win?