Football

Do the Cardinals lose two in a row?

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray lies on the field after being hit during the second half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers, Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz. The Packers won 24-21. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The short answer?

Yes, they do.

The long answer?

The Cardinals are coming off their first loss of the season to the Packers in Week 8, where they were thwarted by a bizarre game-ending interception by Packers CB Rasul Douglas. In Week 9 they travel to the bay area for a divisional matchup against the 49ers. Based on records alone, the Cardinals would expect to get back on track in a big way, but divisional matchups have a tendency to be close, cagey affairs. Look no further than the Week 5 matchup between these two teams for proof, where the undefeated Cardinals edged the 49ers 17-10 at home, in Trey Lance’s first NFL start.

This week, San Francisco will have Jimmy Garoppolo back, who performed very well against the Bears in Week 8. Elijah Mitchell and Deebo Samuel have both the running and passing components of the offense flourishing, and this 49ers offense looks poised to put on a show for their home fans. While the 49ers are optimistic, the Cardinals have nothing but uncertainty heading into Week 9.

Uncertainty in the desert

Kyler Murry and Deandre Hopkins are both game-time decisions. Anytime your two best weapons are battling injury, you are uneasy, regardless of their status. Additionally, AJ Green has already been ruled out due to COVID protocols. All of these things cast a large shadow of doubt over the Arizona passing game. In the Week 5 matchup the 49ers put good pressure on Murray, and kept the Cardinals offense on their toes. Expect rookie talent Rondale Moore to see an increased role for the Cardinals, whether it be with more targets downfield, or with more screens and jet sweeps. While Moore’s talent is undisputed and exciting for a young player, he has yet to be a focal point in the receiving game, and it will interesting to see if he has as much open space to operate in if Hopkins and Green are not there to demand attention from the defense.

Winning game plans

For the 49ers to win they should look to exploit the Arizona run defense like the Packers did last week with Aaron Jones. In this way they can win the time of possession battle, as well as open up the play action to hit Deebo Samuel over the top at strategic times. On defense, they need to get as much pressure on the quarterback as possible; this is an obvious statement, but a necessary one, and it will be a much easier task if the Cardinals have to start Colt McCoy instead of Kyler.

For the Cardinals to win, honestly, they need to have Kyler Murray out there. No disrespect to Colt McCoy, and crazier things have happened, but with the adjustments to the offense that will be needed I see them getting beat pretty handily by the 49ers. They also would need to have a running game. It doesn’t have to be amazing, but it would have to at least make San Francisco divert a portion of their defensive resources to dealing with Chase Edmonds and James Conner.

Prediction

49ers win 31 – 13.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. glimesand

    November 7, 2021 at 4:04 PM

    Nice article, I tend to agree, but if Kyler Murray does play, it will be closer, I feel.

    • Josh Limesand

      November 7, 2021 at 3:21 PM

      Very true, Kyler Murray would not allow my predicted score line if he plays!

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