The San Francisco 49ers play on primetime TV for the second week in a row with a game against the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football. San Francisco has 41 wins on Monday Night Football in franchise history, while Arizona has lost eight of the last nine games on MNF. However, the lone win in that span for Arizona was over San Francisco, 29-24, in 2008.
The 49ers enter the game with a 5-2 record and sit atop the NFC West. The Cardinals are 4-3 and have dropped three straight losses after starting the season 4-0. A win by the Cardinals would place them in a tie with the 49ers for first place in the NFC West. After Monday night, the teams don’t play against each other again until the last game of the season.
Entering the game San Francisco has won 10 of the last 12 games against division opponents and has won five of the last six games over Arizona. The game could be decided by the play of both teams’ quarterbacks. Alex Smith has thrown five interceptions — total he threw all of the 2011 season. Four of the interceptions he has thrown were in the last two games. As a starter, Smith has an 8-1 record versus the Cardinals in his career. Cardinals QB John Skelton is starting again for an injured Kevin Kolb. Skelton is 6-0 at home as a starter and he led the Cardinals to a 21-19 win over the 49ers in week 14 last season.
To preview the divisional matchup on Monday Night Football, Niner Noise teamed up with Arizona Cardinals fan website Raising Zona and their Editor Scott Allen for a Q&A to get a fans perceptive of the game. Enjoy and go 49ers!
Q. What are the reasons why the Arizona Cardinals have lost three straight games after starting the season 4-0?
A. Offensive line play is poor. It’s no secret the Cards have one of the worst o-line’s in the league. Their tackles Bobby Massie and D’Anthony Batiste have given up 22 sacks in the last three games. Overall the Cards have been sacked 29 times in the last three games. I never like to use injury as an excuse either, however injuries at key positions have led to major inconsistency on the offensive side of the ball. Last week against Minnesota it was turnovers and penalties that did them in.
Q. In the off-season the Cardinals signed guard Adam Snyder who started in 13 games and the playoffs for the 49ers last season. He was the only player on offense not to return from last season. How has Snyder been working out for the Cardinals offensive line?
A. Well, people aren’t so high on Snyder right now. I was high on him coming into the season but he hasn’t done anything spectacular. Now he has a quad injury and may not even play this week.
Q. When healthy who would Cardinal fans rather have starting at quarterback, John Skelton or Kevin Kolb?
A. It’s split or maybe leaning closer to 60/40 for Skelton. I don’t understand it? I’m in Kolb’s camp. Yes, Kolb is not Kurt Warner. He manages games pretty well for the most part. He makes boneheaded plays at times, but he’s not the first quarterback to do that. Skelton’s record is overrated. He still holds onto the ball too long. He is a big part of why they lost last week.
Q. Which players on offense and defense should Niner fans watch out for in the game Monday night?
A. Well, right now the only offensive player they might want to key in on (other than Larry Fitzgerald, which is a given), is running back LaRod Stephens-Howling. The guy is like a pinball and can scoot through small holes. On defense, definitely the fans should watch linebackers Daryl Washington and Sam Acho and defensive lineman Calais Campbell. I’m sure though the smart Niners fans already know who those guys are.
Q. Give us your prediction of the game and a final score.
A. San Francisco 16 Arizona 3