THURSDAY NIGHT NFL TV SPECIAL: NINERS @ CARDS
UNDEFEATED NINERS TRAVEL ON SHORT WEEK TO THE DESERT TO FACE MURRAY FOR FIRST TIME!
VEGAS ODDS: SAN FRAN NINERS (-10) @ ARIZONA CARDINALS ~ TOTAL: (43)
Well you never want to play one of the elites in the NFL when you are a young team still searching to find your way fully, but if you have to then having the undefeated elite team travel to your home on just 3 days rest is the best scenario possible for you pulling off the what would be gigantic Upset. This is the case tonight as the Undefeated Niners travel to the Desert to try to devour another opponent. Everything in every phase is going right for the Niners, and the Cards come off a bad loss, albeit to the Saints on the Road, after 3 very nice wins in a row.
The Cards home field advantage hasn’t really been one at all this year, going (1-2-1) and losing by 18, 17 , tying once and the win coming by just one point. Now they are double digit Underdogs to a team that has won by 14, 24, 28, 13, 9, 38 and one close win (4). The 9 point win came against the Redskins in a monsoon rainstorm the entire game, so scoring was not at a premium that day for the Niners Offense.
Lets face it, right now the Niners are a well oiled machine, Offense and Defense, rushing the ball like they have 15 men on field against 10….just scorching opposing Defenses like men vs. boys. They are #1 in rushing at 181 yards per game. That is insanity level. They have 3 backs with 300+ yards. The Offensive Line is opening up huge blocks and dominating the line of scrimmage. They already have 13 rushing TD’s and they average (4.7) ypc. On Defense the Niners are ranked #1, going #1 vs. Pass and #2 in points allowed. They have 18 sacks and 9 turnovers the past 4 games alone. Some teams might not get those numbers the entire second half of the year. When you run for nearly 100 yards PER GAME then you allow, you will likely win nearly every single game. Niners QB Jimmy Garappolo (70% completions) is now (15-2) as an NFL Starting QB. Due to the run game being so explosive, his numbers aren’t huge ones that make him look like Mahomes or Rodgers. But this team is loaded at WR after adding stud WR E. Sanders from Denver. In his first game after just joining the team, he caught 4 passes, one for a TD. I thought this was by far the best Trade add of all the trades we had. Sanders is a simply outstanding and he is at his best in the end zone area. The Niners Offense has weapons all over and now almost impossible to stop as they run it right at you, and when you load the box to slow the run, they pass it to usually very open wide outs.
The Cards of course are very young, as they have a rookie HC just learning his way, and an exciting young QB also learning on the fly. You can definitely see some major improvement by the young Cards QB Murray, as this Offense has not turned the ball over in 4 straight games. To me as I watch their game tapes, you can see Murray is learning not to take chances and live for another down. This is not a team that can put it’s #29 Defense back on the field in terrible field position. And you gotta give props to the HC, K. Kingsbury who preaches no fumbles. We are basically halfway to thru the season and this Cardinals team has not lost a fumble, the entire season. In fact they are #1 in turnovers, to the good side of that, with 4 Murray Interceptions. Murray has been really good at home, throwing for 2 TD passes in 3 of the 4 home games thus far. He will be severely tested tonight though as his top 2 RB’s Johnson and Edmonds are both likely out tonight. This means that 3 RB’s signed this week, yes folks this past 6 days, will be called upon to take on the rush load, learning a new Offense, in less than one week. Ouch. And to make it worse they need to have success vs. Niners D that is tops in NFL overall, and allowing only 90 RYPG. It’s looking pretty clear that tonight young QB Murray may have to throw the ball more than normal and make at least 4 big run plays to keep drives alive. He hasn’t run as much as many thought, and I am glad he hasn’t. We see Ravens QB Jackson running wild, but you just wait, soon he will take a big hit and his season will get derailed. Murray is doing fine and he’s not going to lead this team to Playoffs this year. His HC knows this too. You learn week to week as it’s the future for the Cards, not this season, to become contenders.
Many ask how did the Niners turn this around so fast? Well one is the addition of Nick Bosa. Next they have a team of no egos. But to me the most important factor has been the HC (K. Shanahan). I like to see how any HC, in all sports, does after his Halftime break. What does he do to make changes needed to win the second half? Well Shanahan has been best HC, by far too, in second half. In the third quarter, he has demoralized his opponents with precision play calling, to the tune of a (72-24) score differential. He has called plays to 6 TD’s on 8 opening drives, with one of the two he missed on a monsoon rainstorm in DC.
The Niners are clearly the public team right now, and the Cards lost a little momentum with the bad loss (31-9) to the Saints last week. The real factor tonight though is the Cards come into this game missing their top 2 RB’s and must ask 3 guys that have been on the team less than a week to grasp a new system and play well against the #1 Defense in the league. Look these guys are Pros, but this is one tall task. Plus you have the “due” factor that the Cards are overdue to lose a fumble. The Niners D is one that literally tackles every time with a shot at trying to strip the ball. I feel kinda bad for the new Cards RB’s (Drake, Morris and Zenner) as this is one tall task to achieve well. The Niners Defense right now is smothering and really the Cards have only stud WR Larry Fitzgerald to cause serious damage (other than Murray’s feet on runs). Fitz has 18 TD’s and 2,036 total yards vs. Niners, so you know he will be fired up to face them tonight. The Cards have covered the spread the last 3 meetings. Can they make it 4 straight? Can the shock the world and Upset the mighty Goliath Niners? If fully healthy at RB, getting the Niners on the short week I’d have said covering “YES”. Upset: “NO”! I won’t be in action tonight as laying double digits on a short week just not any great value to me. I may though take a shot on Niners in the 3rd quarter, especially if first half score works to benefit that solid Niners advantage already coming back out after the Half.
Enjoy the game and “HAPPY HALLOWEEN” to you all. Please be Safe tonight, especially driving at night in dark with the kids all out trick or treating.
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