49ers vs. Cardinals: 3 stats that should scare San Francisco

Quarterback Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Quarterback Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Kliff Kingsbury, Arizona Cardinals
Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury Mandatory Credit: Imagn Images /

No. 3: 49ers will have tough times defending NFL’s No. 1 offense

It’s been popular and usually correct to bet against Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury as a quality play-caller. At least up until 2021.

And while there are plenty of games left this season, enough room for him to endure yet another late-season collapse, the early trends for this year have suggested his Air-Raid approach is finally starting to pan out.

Through four weeks, Arizona doesn’t just boast the NFL’s No. 1 scoring offense with 140 points scored (an average of 35 points per game) but also is No. 1 in total yardage gained (1,762 — 440.5 yards per game).

Granted, two of the Cardinals’ opponents so far this season, the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars, aren’t exactly boasting prolific defenses. But the Minnesota Vikings and Los Angeles Rams have stout enough defenses to suggest the 49ers could be in for some serious challenges.

As far as inconsistency goes, the Niners defense has been there. Week 1 saw that fourth-quarter near-collapse against the Detroit Lions before a nice rebound effort in Week 2 against the Philadelphia Eagles. Week 3 saw quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers regularly pick apart the defense, while the second half against the Seahawks in Week 4 didn’t exactly generate promising results.

All told, San Francisco enters this bout with the 22nd-ranked scoring defense (102 points allowed) yet only 1,347 yards surrendered, which is 10th best.

Something is going to give, and one can only hope it’s not the 49ers defense.