Glendale, Az- The stage is set, but will the team be ready? When America’s new favorite pastime comes into town this Monday night, all eyes will be on an Arizona Cardinals team with its back against the wall. Less than a month ago the playoffs were on everybody’s mind, now fans would be happy with .500 record going into their bye week next month. These consecutive losses really couldn’t have came at a worse time, because a game with the San Francisco 49ers is not the the appropriate prescription to heal this offense.
The Cardinals would be very lucky to score 17 points in this game. They might statistically have the worst offensive line in league history after the season is over, and the Niner’s have one of the great defenses in the league. Aldon Smith will eat his fill on Monday, and Patrick Willis & Navarro Bowman have a tendency to hurt players. I am legitimately worried about the running backs and John Skelton making it through the whole game due to the massive mismatches up front. If a Herculean effort were ever needed by this offensive line, now is the time. Hopefully special teams or strong defensive play can give Arizona good field position then they might be lucky enough to sneak in a TD or two, but Larry Fitzgerald may need to pull some balls out of thin air in this one.
Arizona’s defense should be able to keep this game close enough if their offensive partners can put anything on the scoreboard. San Francisco’s offense has been inconsistent all year long and the Card’s defense is definitely strong enough to take advantage of that. Watching Ray Horton’s unit honestly reminds me of San Francisco’s last year. Daryl Washington and the linebacking corp. are very comparable to Patrick Willis and San Francisco’s. So similar in fact that I wish the offenses would just sit out so we could watch the defenses hit each other all day, just imagine Chris Berman doing the play-by-play of that.
John Skelton is in for a tough challenge, and although the odds are against him I’m sure he embraces that challenge. Unfortunately his line usually isn’t equipped to to do their part, making Skelton’s efforts futile sometimes. San Francisco’s physical, bold secondary will be trying to drape over Arizona’s wideouts all day so accurate and timely passing will be the difference between 1st downs and turnovers every time Skelton drops back. Even after his great game last week, LaRod Stephens-Howling probably won’t be getting 20 carries again; he’s tough as nails but the defense he’s going against hits too hard. Expect him and William Powell to share the load and hopefully create some play action situations to catch the Niners off guard.
I believe Arizona’s defense will limit Alex Smith and contain Frank Gore enough to keep their team within striking distance for most of the game. However, Vernon Davis will probably make up for his catchless performance last week, so my sympathy goes out to whomever has to cover him. If the 49ers can somehow score 24 points or more then they’ve exceeded expectations and will cruise to victory thanks to the drastic advantage their defense has over AZ’s offense. I expect our boys on D to show up though, and keep themselves in the game late before ultimately falling to the 49ers, 24-13. The big brother of the NFC West will be intent on ceasing any doubt on who’s defense is the most dominant.
About the Author
Written by Thomas Mitchell
Born & raised in Arizona, part of the MJ generation. Lifelong sports fanatic