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The 7-1 Arizona Cardinals could still be reeling from their first loss of the season in Week 8, no doubt the result of a missed audible that led to QB Kyler Murray’s second interception of the game, but the agile team leader has completed almost 73 percent of his passes this season and now the Cards face a Niners team that’s looking to improve its third-place spot in the NFC West.
The 3-4 San Francisco 49ers took care of the shaky Bears in Week 8, 33-22, so now veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo should get the Week 9 start at home even though rookie QB Trey Lance is now healthy again, this San Fran team with a top-5 defense that will most likely focus on keeping Cards’ QB Murray stuck in the pocket, something DE Nick Bosa loves to do.
These two NFC West rivals have played each other 60 other times, with the San Francisco 49ers winning 32 of those games and the Arizona Cardinals winning 28 of the games.
After winning their first seven games of the season, the Arizona Cardinals finally fell in Week 8 and like it was for the 11-0 Steelers from last season, that first win could be the start of the team’s gradual downfall, though most likely not given all the talent Arizona’s roster holds.
Arizona has plenty of playmaker receivers for QB Kyler Murray to target, sure-handed guys like A.J. Green, DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk, and now star TE Zach Ertz, all part of a receiver corps that combined averages 265 yards per game, their total offense that scores about 31 points every time.
How a team responds to a loss tells a lot about their football character, and this Cardinals team is young but has plenty of veterans on board, so they should come out swinging here on the road and have a short memory regarding that loss while they give the 49ers lots to defend.
The problem with San Francisco veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is not his ability to win – he has a 27-11 record as a starter in the NFL – it’s more about his tendency to get injured, his only full season with the 49ers being 2019.
Now that Jimmy G is healthy and he has led the team to their third win of the season, expect him to fight hard to stay the starter under center, something that a Week 9 win over these Cardinals would certainly help to make happen.
Waiting in the wings, though, is rookie QB Trey Lance, who has proven (in moments) to be skilled at his position, but he has yet to get his first NFL win and has only completed 52 percent of the passes he’s thrown at the pro level, so the longer he sits and watches Garoppolo the better.
One of the best players in the league is Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray, who makes up for his smaller stature (5’ 10” and 207 pounds) with his agility and arm strength, able to throw from just about any arm and body angle that becomes necessary.
Right now Murray is listed as questionable because of an ankle injury he sustained at the end of last week’s loss, so he remains a coach’s game-time decision, though his injury would have to be more serious than previously thought if it keeps him from suiting up on Sunday.
Murray’s numbers this year are excellent – he’s completed 186 passes for 2,276 yards and 17 touchdowns with 7 interceptions – but what makes him truly dangerous is his tendency to scramble for first downs and more so watch for his shifty legs to be a factor in this one.
The 49ers have two rookies in their backfield right now forming a rushing attack ranked 11th in the league after averaging yards on the ground per game this season, Eli Mitchell and Trey Sermon playing well above their newbie expectations so watch for them Sunday.
At 5’ and 200 pounds, Mitchell is fast, powerful and tough to tackle, and he has carried the ball 81 times for 433 yards (5.3 yards per carry) and 3 touchdowns, so far with no fumbles and just four receptions, his longest run for 39 yards this season.
Sermon has more size at 6’ and 215 pounds, and so far he has 31 carries for 135 yards (4.4 yards per carry) and 1 touchdown, also with no fumbles and just two receptions, his longest run for 16 yards this season.
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|Cardinals vs 49ers Information|
|Teams||Arizona Cardinals vs San Francisco 49ers|
|Location||Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California|
|Time||Sunday, November 7, 2021; 4:25 PM ET|
|How to watch||FOX|
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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