There’s a bit of a twist with the Monday night game in Week 11, as the San Francisco 49ers face the Arizona Cardinals in Mexico City.
Which way to lean at BMR’s top-rated books?
San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals
Monday, November 21, 2022 – 08:15 PM EST at Estadio Azteca
If the 49ers and Cardinals facing off in Mexico City sounds familiar, that’s because they played there on Oct. 2, 2005, in the NFL's first regular-season game ever played outside of the United States. More than 103,000 fans packed the Azteca and watched the Cardinals win 31-14. This is the final international game of the year and the Cards are technically the home team.
It’s also the first meeting between these two with the Niners hosting Arizona in Week 18. Tend to think the Cards will be eliminated from playoff contention by then, but not San Francisco – which I expect to win the NFC West. Last year, the Cardinals swept the season series. Arizona is 7-1-1 against the spread in the past nine meetings on the NFL picks.
Niners Adjusting To Altitude
With the way Philadelphia looked Monday in losing at home to Washington and not really trusting Minnesota yet, I believe San Francisco is the best team in the NFC when it plays at its best/is healthy. The Eagles are +250 conference favorites, with the Niners and Dallas Cowboys each at +400.
The Niners came out of their bye week on Sunday and beat the visiting Chargers 22-16 despite trailing by 10 early. LA didn’t score in the second half, the second straight second-half shutout for the Niners.
Christian McCaffrey rushed for the go-ahead score and Elijah Mitchell returned from injured reserve and carried 18 times for 89 yards – four more carries than McCaffrey got, which was interesting. Coach Kyle Shanahan said his "goal" is for the two to have "about even carries" going forward. Jimmy Garoppolo completed 19 of 28 pass attempts for 240 yards and rushed five times for three yards and a touchdown.
San Francisco's Lineup
Linebacker Dre Greenlaw was ejected for a head-to-head hit on Justin Herbert, and if he was facing a suspension, I’d think we would have heard about it by now. Defensive lineman Arik Armstead has missed six games this season, including the last five, but might play Monday: "He does have a chance," Shanahan said. Against Arizona, Nick Bosa was the lone starter available on the defensive line due to injuries, with Armstead, Javon Kinlaw and Samson Ebukam unavailable. Bosa is second in the NFL with 9.5 sacks.
At the advice of the team's conditioning staff, the 49ers will travel to Colorado Springs on Tuesday to acclimate to the high-altitude conditions in Mexico City. The team will stay in Colorado until likely Sunday.
San Francisco is 5-0 against the spread on the NFL odds in its past five against the NFC West.
McCoy Or Murray For Cards?
I’ll just be honest here that I’m flying a bit blind picking this game because I have no idea if Cardinals starting QB Kyler Murray will play or if it will be veteran journeyman backup Colt McCoy. Murray was listed as limited in practice on Thursday and Friday last week after not participating in Wednesday’s session due to a hamstring issue and sat out Sunday’s 27-17 win at the Rams, who were also missing their starting QB.
McCoy was a solid 26-for-37 for 238 yards and a TD. He is also dealing with a leg injury and exited in the third quarter. But McCoy was able to come back in to finish the game. The team’s first injury report won’t be until Thursday because it plays Monday.
“We want to continue to progress him and see where that thing’s at,” Coach Kliff Kingsbury said in his Monday press conference about Murray. “We’re playing the 49ers — that’s a D-line that you better be full speed and be able to run, move and do the things that he can do. So, we’ll see how he feels Wednesday and try to go from there.”
The Current Roster
Arizona made a surprise move on Monday in releasing running back Eno Benjamin, who had started three games for the Cardinals this season in relief of James Conner, who had been dealing with an injury. Conner was back Sunday and rushed for two scores. Keaontay Ingram is the new backup.
The Cardinals only had right tackle Kelvin Beachum from their original starting offensive line on Sunday. And also were without cornerback Byron Murphy. Then in the win, they lost former Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz to a season-ending injury. Ertz led all Cardinals pass catchers with 47 receptions and four touchdowns in 10 games played this season. The 32-year-old ranked third on the team with 406 receiving yards. Rookie Trey McBride should become the primary tight end.
Also Monday, kicker Tristan Vizcaino, who had been a last-second replacement for ill kicker Matt Prater and who was perfect in kicking two field goals and three extra points vs. LA, was released.
49ers vs. Cardinals: Our Betting Pick
The Niners absolutely should win, but for this betting pick, I think Arizona can stay within 7 – obviously be nice to know on Murray, though, as he seems to have San Francisco’s number ATS.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.