Cardinals Look to Stop Skid vs. 49ers on MNF

This week's matchup on Monday Night Football offers up an important game out in the NFC West as the first-place San Francisco 49ers pay a visit to the second-place Arizona Cardinals (8:30 pm ET).

San Fran (5-2) began this season with wins over the Packers and Lions, then lost to the Vikings. The Niners then beat the Jets and Bills by a combined score of 79-3, but subsequently laid an egg in a 26-3 loss to the Giants.  Then last Thursday the Niners won ugly, beating the Seahawks 13-6.

Arizona (4-3), meanwhile, started 4-0 this season, with wins over Seattle, the Patriots, the Eagles and the Dolphins. But since then the Cardinals have lost three in a row - to the Rams, the Bills in OT, and last week to the Vikings 21-14 in Minnesota.

The Cardinals actually outgained the Vikes 356-209, but gave up seven sacks and allowed a touchdown on an interception return.

So the 49ers lead the NFC West by a game over Arizona. The Cardinals also trail Minnesota and Green Bay by a half-game in the battle for the two NFC Wild-Card spots. 

By the numbers San Francisco has outrushed opponents this season by a 177-99 YPG margin, while Arizona has been outrushed 121-90.

On the injury front Arizona is still without QB Kevin Kolb, who suffered a serious rib injury a couple weeks ago and hasn't played since. But the Cardinals are 8-5 when backup John Skelton has started, and 6-0 at home.

These teams split their two games last season, the Niners winning 23-7 at Candlestick and the Cardinals winning in Phoenix 21-19, as Skelton threw for 282 yards and three touchdowns.

On the NFL betting line San Francisco opened as a four-point road favorite over Arizona, but as of Monday morning the 49ers were favored by seven points at most NFL betting outlets.

So far this season NFL home dogs are 20-17 straight-up and 23-14 against-the-spread.



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