Rivalry games are fun.
Rivalry games are even more fun when they are on national television.
The Cardinals host the San Francisco 49ers in a game that could very well determine their season. Pull off the upset, and all is well again. Lose, and the team will fall to 4-4 with a pair of difficult road games up next.
Will they get the job done Monday night? The experts at Arizona Sports 620 tell you, and we encourage you to post your prediction with a comment.
Week 8, the Cardinals have lost three straight and have allowed 29 sacks in their last four games. Yet, Bobby Massie and D'Anthony Batiste are still the starting tackles. I know there aren't a ton of options when looking for players who are available in Week 8, but the Cardinals, at least by the lack of their action, seem content with the situation. It doesn't bode well with the NFL's top defense coming to town Monday night. The 49ers haven't put up big sack numbers this season, but I have a feeling that will change this week. Typical Cardinals home game -- it'll be close, but the Niners win.
Final Score: 49ers 20, Cardinals 16
These defenses are too good for this to be a high-scoring game. The 49ers have a better offense.
The entire game will be determined by field position. I think one major short-field-creating turnover will be the difference. Unfortunately, I think that turnover will be forced and recovered by San Francisco.
Crazy as it sounds, this might be the most winnable game on the schedule for the Cards over the next three (home vs. SF, @ Green Bay, @Atlanta). I expect the defense to do their usual work, though making sure Frank Gore doesn't gash them the way Adrian Peterson did would be a good place to start. It might not be fair to ask, but the defense may have to hold the Niners under 14. I'm not sure there is any other way the Cards can win. That said...
Final Score: 49ers 20, Cardinals 13
Season starts to get away from Cardinals here, as losing streak matches the winning streak to start the season. San Francisco is good, not great, and they have given up back-to-back 100-yard rushing games by a back in Ahmad Bradshaw and Marshawn Lynch. They had not given up a 100-yard game to back prior to these two dating back to 2009, when Chris Johnson topped 100 yards against them. And Alex Smith has looked shaky in the loss to the Giants and close win over Seattle. But nonetheless, until Arizona can protect the quarterback they are not going to win against a defense with a good pass rush, and San Francisco has just that. San Francisco will run the ball behind Frank Gore and take advantage of good field position given them by Arizona's incompetence on offense to win this game by two touchdowns.
Final Score: 49ers 27, Cardinals 13
Nothing will be funny on this night.
This will be a frustrating game in that the 49ers won't do much on offense against a stout Cardinals D, but ultimately Arizona's offensive woes will be too much to overcome.
This game will be close for a while, but will feel like a blowout. A late turnover will make it a blowout.
The Cardinals defense is good, but the 49ers defense is better. I think the Niners D will force the Cardinals anemic offense to struggle more than normal. San Francisco will have a defensive touchdown or two. I'm sensing a prime time blowout in Glendale.
Final Score: 49ers 31, Cardinals 6
The San Fran defense will be the key to this game, they'll likely take advantage of the Cards' weak pass protection. The sacks will continue and Arizona's running game will be kept to a minimum. I think the score will seem closer than the game will be.
Final Score: 49ers 24, Cardinals 13
The Cardinals weaknesses have showed themselves in a big way the last three weeks. A lack of a run game and the inability to offer any sort of protection to any quarterback that starts for them. The 49ers have a great run defense and can get after the quarterback with the best of them. The Cardinals defense can match up with the Niners offense and I think this will allow them to hang around in the game. But, how will the Cardinals put points on the board? I don't see Larod Stephens-Howling having even close the same success against San Francisco Monday night as he did against the Vikings last week. I think out of pure emotion of a Monday Night Game in front of a hometown crowd they hang around, but drop to a disappointing 4-4 considering how they started the season.
Final Score: 49ers 20, Cardinals 17
The Cardinals haven't gotten going on offense in a while, and that's not going to change against the 49ers. I'm not expecting a blowout, but I'm also not expecting a lot from the Cards. No way the Hyphen posts over 60 rushing yards.
Final Score: 49ers 24, Cardinals 13