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The Arizona Cardinals will look to avoid a second straight NFL betting defeat at home against a divisional rival when they take on the San Francisco 49ers on MNF.
Matchup: San Francisco 49ers @ Arizona Cardinals
Date: Monday, November 29th, 8:30 ET
Location: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ
Game Line: Arizona +1.5
Niners Notes: All season long, HC Mike Singletary has been insistent that his 49ers are still winning the NFC West this year. And yes, we have to admit that, even though his team is 3-7, it is still just two games back and is most probably going to be just 1.5 back by the time it takes the field on Monday Night Football. However, there's a point that you have to realize that you just have to start to win games to get into the second season, and this is probably that point. San Fran has been dreadful on the road all season long, going 0-4 thus far on the campaign. The good news is that there is one win overseas at Wembley Stadium, but the bad news is that four of the next five are on the road. The 49ers are coming off of a terrible 21-0 shutout loss at home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and which they were absolutely just smacked in the mouth for the entire game, and they need to recover from that in a hurry if they want to win this game. The QB Troy Smith experiment still seems to be going sufficiently for the Niners, as he is going to get the nod again on MNF. Smith has thrown for 700 yards and two TDs against one INT this year in three starts. RB Frank Gore has to have shoulders that really, really hurt. He has 198 of the team's 244 carries on the season. He has 801 yards on the ground and has another 46 receptions for 452 yards in the passing game. Gore has found pay dirt five times on the campaign. Still, he is really the only star on an offense that has been dreadful this year, averaging just 16.0 points per game. Defensively, things might be improving, when your offense is this bad, giving up 328.2 yards and 21.9 points per game is the recipe for disaster after disaster.
Cardinals Notes: The Redbirds can't really feel like they have much of a chance to get in the playoffs, though they really have the exact same team right now that San Fran has. The difference is that Arizona probably has an easier schedule from here on out, and can do a better job taking advantage of those foes. The problem is that this offense only has one star as well, and unlike Gore, which just needs to be handed the ball, someone needs to be able to throw the ball up to WR Larry Fitzgerald. The former Pitt Panther has 55 receptions for 691 yards and five scores, but no one else on the team has accounted for more than three TDs offensively. Heck, the third leading scorer on the team is DB Kerry Rhodes, who has two pick sixes! Needless to say, this offense, whether being run by QB Max Hall or QB Derek Anderson, has been really, really bad. If not for the Carolina Panthers, the Cardinals would rank dead last in the NFL in total yards, as they are averaging just 275.7 yards per game this year. Only 84.5 yards per game are coming on the ground, and only 191.2 are coming through the air. It should come as no surprise that this is a team averaging just 18.8 points per game, which is really something considering the fact that the defense and special teams have chipped in with a number of scores. The other problem that this defense has right now is that it can't stop a pack of turtles, let alone another NFL team. Allowing 29.2 points per game in unacceptable at any level of pro football, especially when you rank No. 27 or worse in every single category. The Cards have allowed at least 31 points five times this year.
The Final Word: This is an ugly, ugly game, and it is really hard to separate these two teams. Neither one has played up to its potential this year, and neither one deserves to be even a game back in any division in football. Still, we look at that 0-4 next to San Fran's name on the road this year and wonder why, especially in one of the tougher venues to play football in the country, that the Niners are favored. We just don't see it. Arizona is bad, but it is the lesser of the two evils in this one.
Free Pro Football Picks: Arizona +1.5
Prediction: Arizona 26 – San Francisco 21