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Monday Night Football- 49ers at Cardinals Preview

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Larry Fitzgerald

After yesterday’s exciting action, Week 8 comes to a close tonight with an NFC West divisional battle as the San Francisco 49ers travel to Arizona to take on the Cardinals.

The game will be live on ESPN in America and on the BBC Red Button in Ireland.

So without further ado, here is a full preview of Monday Night Football Week 8.

San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals

Justin Smith

Stadium– University of Phoenix Stadium

Kick Off- 5:30 p.m. in Arizona/1:30 a.m. in Ireland

What to Watch

John Skelton

John Skelton and the Cardinals Passing Game

  • Things haven’t been going so well for the Cardinals passing game lately. The Cards are yet to win a game since John Skelton stepped back in for injured starter Kevin Kolb.
  • The main problem has been the lack of production for the Cards outside of star wideout Larry Fitzgerald. Just to make matters worse, the 49ers have the number one ranked defense in the league against the pass and so things should be tough for Skelton, Fitzgerald and co. to get going through the air tonight.

Cardinals Offensive Line vs 49ers Front Seven

  • It’s no secret that the Cardinals offensive line has struggled this year and it doesn’t get any easier for them tonight against the 49ers front seven. In fact, the Cards offensive line have given up a staggering 35 sacks in their seven games which puts them on pace for the second highest total in NFL history.
  • On the opposite side of the ball comes arguably the best front seven in football including star linebacker Patrick Willis and ferocious defensive end Justin Smith. The 49ers have the advantage in this matchup.

49ers Wide Receivers vs Cardinals Cornberbacks

  • 49ers quarterback Alex Smith has one of the deepest wide receiver groups in the game right now with starters Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham joined by veteran Randy Moss on the outside. Crabtree has been Smith’s most reliable go-to-target so far in this campaign with 34 catches for 368 yards.
  • Covering this talented group of receivers tonight will be a Cardinals cornerback unit led by sophomore star Patrick Peterson. Peterson will likely be tasked with stopping #15 for the Niners in a crucial battle.

Who to Watch

Randy Moss

Randy Moss- Wide Receiver- 49ers

  • I mentioned earlier how effective Michael Crabtree has been for the 49ers passing game but it’s his fellow wide receiver Randy Moss who will be the standout player to watch tonight. Moss hasn’t been a major contributor on offense so far this season and has just 12 catches along with 1 receiving touchdown.
  • However, at some point he will surely step up and have a big game for his new team. I’m backing Moss to shine in this one and put on a show in front of the Prime time cameras.

Justin Smith- Defensive End- 49ers

  • Justin Smith was voted the NFL’s most underrated player by his peers in a Sports Illustrated poll this month and it’s easy to see why when you see Smtih play on tape. Smith is one of the few defensive linemen in the league who can be both a dominant run stopper along with a dangerous pass rusher.
  • He may 33-years-old but that hasn’t stopped him from recording over 50 tackles in each season of his career. Expect Smith to dominant again tonight against the Cardinals offensive line.

John Skelton- Quarterback- Cardinals

  • It is quite difficult to figure out Cardinals quarterback John Skelton due to his limited playing time with the team. In each of his three years as a pro he has been called on to start for the Cardinals, but he is yet to do so with any real consistency based off his 14-19 career touchdown-interception ratio.
  • His career completion percentage is also a worrying statistic for Cardinals fans with just 53.1% of his passes complete. Skelton must improve tonight if the Cards are going to have any chance of an upset.

Prediction

Alex Smith

I’m expecting this game to be a close one with all the makings off a defensive battle.

If this turns out to be correct, the 49ers would clearly have the edge with a far superior defense led by standout players like Patrick Willis and Justin Smith.

49ers 20 Cardinals 9

So that’s your preview and prediction, hope everyone enjoys the big game.

Follow @PodgeOH

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