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Week 12 Preview: 49ers @ Cardinals

Season Records:

Cardinals: 3-7, 3rd in NFC West (tied), Last Week: L @ Kansas City, 31-13

49ers: 3-7, 3rd in NFC West (tied), Last Week: L vs. Tampa Bay, 21-0

Gametime:

Monday, November 29th, 8:30 p.m., EST, Monday Night Football, UoP Stadium, Glendale, AZ

Two Teams on the Brink of Total Collapse Collide on Monday Night:

The Cardinals and the 49ers will finally get their first action against each other on Monday Night Football this week, but it will be a far cry from the division showdown it was billed as at the start of the season.  Many experts picked the 49ers to have the NFC West well in hand by now.  Obviously, the Niners and Cards will instead be desperately fighting to keep their seasons alive.

It’s appropriate that the knockout punch for one of these two teams will be delivered by its NFC West rival.  Both teams, though, have been knocked around by everyone in recent weeks.  The Cardinals were manhandled in a 31-13 road loss in Kansas City last week.  The 49ers, however, were totally dismantled at home against the Buccaneers by the score of 21-0.  Obviously, both teams are pretty much at a low point in terms of confidence.  “It was a big setback,” coach Mike Singletary said.  “We expected to come out here and play well.  We did not.”

In order to turn things around, the Niners switched Smiths at quarterback and Troy will back on the field this week.  Troy will be making his fourth straight start at quarterback for San Francisco despite coming off a shaky performance against the Buccaneers.  Troy, who is replacing a healthy Alex, was sacked six times and completed 16 of 31 passes for 148 yards with an interception.  He threw for 552 yards on 29 of 47 passing with two touchdowns in his first two starts.  San Francisco will no doubt heavily rely on Frank Gore who has had success against the Cardinals, averaging 101.6 rushing yards with six total TDs in his last five matchups.  He rushed for 167 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries in a 24-9 win over Arizona on December 14.

The Cardinals aren’t feeling much better about their efforts.  “We are not really a confident team right now,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said.  “I think it’s a natural human emotion when you’ve lost five in a row and you’ve lost some of the games the way we have. It’s definitely something that plays into it.  This game is about momentum.  It’s about confidence and we don’t have a lot to base positive things on here lately.”

Arizona is unfortunately smack in the middle of their longest losing streak since an eight-game slide in 2006.  What’s even more unfortunate is that nothing has changed for the Cardinals, which means they must somehow put the broken pieces together as they are.  Better play-calling, better execution, and more emotion should be able to give the Cardinals a boost in front of their home crowd on the biggest stage of all, Monday night.

Amazingly, neither team is totally out of the race yet as they are both 2.0 games behind the first place Seattle Seahawks, who hold a tenuous lead on the division.  The winner of this game could pull right back into contention.  The loser will go on fielding questions from the media about their disaster of a season.

Stat Corner:

Passing Leaders

San Francisco CMP% YDS TD INT
A. Smith 59.1 1554 9 9
T. Smith 57.7 700 2 1
Arizona CMP% YDS TD INT
D. Anderson 53.7 1776 7 8
M. Hall 50.7 360 1 5

Rushing Leaders

San Francisco CAR YDS AVG TD
F. Gore 198 801 4.0 3
T. Smith 12 59 4.9 1
Arizona CAR YDS AVG TD
T. Hightower 91 438 4.8 3
B. Wells 78 270 3.5 2

Receiving Leaders

San Francisco REC YDS AVG TD
V. Davis 38 516 13.6 4
M. Crabtree 36 461 12.8 4
Arizona REC YDS AVG TD
L. Fitzgerald 55 691 12.6 5
S. Breaston 34 548 16.1 1

Team Averages & NFL Ranks

TEAM OFFENSE TEAM PER GAME AVERAGE
Total Yards SFO

314.0

ARI

276.0

Yards Passing SFO

217.9

ARI

191.2

Yards Rushing SFO

95.8

ARI

84.5

TEAM DEFENSE TEAM PER GAME AVERAGE
Yards Allowed SFO

328.2

ARI

396.8

Pass Yds Allowed SFO

221.4

ARI

261.7

Rush Yds Allowed SFO

106.8

ARI

135.1

Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)

San Francisco leads 9-7
Dec 14, 2009 SFO 24, ARI 9
Sep 13, 2009 SFO 20, @ARI 16
Nov 10, 2008 SFO 24, @ARI 29
Sep 7, 2008 SFO 13, ARI 23
Nov 25, 2007 SFO 37, @ARI 31
Sep 10, 2007 SFO 20, ARI 17
Dec 24, 2006 SFO 20, ARI 26
Sep 10, 2006 SFO 27, @ARI 34
Dec 4, 2005 SFO 10, ARI 17
Oct 2, 2005 SFO 14, @ARI 31
Dec 12, 2004 SFO 31, @ARI 28
Oct 10, 2004 SFO 31, ARI 28
Dec 7, 2003 SFO 50, ARI 14
Oct 26, 2003 SFO 13, @ARI 16
Dec 21, 2002 SFO 17, @ARI 14
Oct 27, 2002 SFO 38, ARI 28

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