San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) smiles after the 49ers defeated the Los Angeles Chargers in an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

Week 11 MNF Preview: San Francisco 49ers v. Arizona Cardinals

Week 11 of Monday Night Football continues as the San Francisco 49ers face the Arizona Cardinals at 8:15 p.m. This matchup will take place at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City as a part of the NFL international series.

The 49ers beat the Los Angeles Chargers 22-16 in Week 10 to improve to a 5-4 record. They currently stand as the second seed in the NFC West.

As for the Cardinals, they now hold a 4-6 record after beating the Los Angeles Rams 27-17 last week. They are the third seed in the NFC West.

49ers with Balance on Both Ends

The 49ers display balance from both their offensive and defensive ends throughout the season.

Their offense is strong with several key players contributing to their strengths, especially their ground game. In Week 10, wide receiver Deebo Samuel had four carries, 27 yards and 6.8 YPC to contribute to the win. Running back Elijah Mitchell had 18 carries, 49 yards and 4.9YPC. Running back Christian McCaffrey had 38 yards, 2.7 YPC and one TD. McCaffrey has been effectively on the ground all season long averaging 4.5 YPC.

As for the 49ers’ passing game, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk will be essential. Garoppolo has a 100-passing rating this season. In Week 1o, he had 240 yards and 8.6 YPA. Aiyuk has been the 49ers’ most consistent pass catcher. He had 84 yards, seven targets and six rec. against the Chargers.

Meanwhile for defense, the 49ers have one of the toughest ground defenses for quarterbacks. It allows only an average of 3.3 YPC for quarterbacks this season. Also, defensive end Nick Bosa is now averaging pass rush 9.5 sacks with 29 total sacks after Week 10 (tied fourth in the league.) However, the pass defense of the 49ers has shown to be a weakness throughout the season. It has allowed an average of 92.9 rating to wide receivers. It will have to find a way to make stops against the Cardinals’ passing game.

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Cardinals Aim to Maintain Defensive Momentum

The Cardinals gained defensive momentum as their defense was the biggest factor contributing to their win over the Rams. They managed to attack the quarterbacks and blocked significant passes. They held the Rams’ wide receiver Cooper Kupp to five targets, three rec. and -1 yard. Their rush defense is also strong, especially against running backs. They hold running backs to only 4.4 YPC. However, with the strength in the 49ers’ ground game, they would have to not only maintain but also level up their defensive game if they want to stop running backs.

On the offensive end, Cardinals’ strengths come from their passing game. Wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Rondale Moore were important in their win last week. Hopkins had 14 targets, 10 rec. and 98 yards while Moore had 13 targets, nine rec. and 94 yards. Quarterback Kyler Murray was out last week with a hamstring injury. Colt McCoy filled in with no interceptions, 238 yards, a TD and a 96.5 rating. Nevertheless, Murray will be needed if the Cardinals wish to strengthen their ground offense. Running back James Conner had two touchdowns, but he only averaged 3.3 YPC. In this season, Conner is averaging under 4 YPC. On the other hand, Murray has a 6.1 YPC and 39.9 YPG.

Coverage of the game begins at Nov. 21, 8 p.m. at ESPN 98.1FM & 850AM.

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