‘Monday Night Football’ Heads South of The Border to Mexico

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‘Monday Night Football’ Heads South of The Border to Mexico

The NFL features one of the most anticipated games today as Monday Night Football heads to Mexico. Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium plays host to the San Francisco 49ers and the Arizona Cardinals to close out a successful Week 11.

Arizona Cardinals vs San Francisco 49ers
Arizona Cardinals vs San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) is tackled by Arizona Cardinals tight end Darrell Daniels (81) and linebacker Tanner Vallejo (51) during a game last season. The two meet again today, this time in Mexico City. (Image: USA Today)

Tonight’s duel is a rematch, of sorts, between these two teams. They were both part of the first NFL regular season game played outside the US 17 years ago.

That game was also at Azteca Stadium. On that occasion, Arizona beat San Francisco 34-13, and the Niners have been plotting their revenge ever since.

Battle of the Bulge

San Francisco and Arizona are both part of the NFC West division. San Fran is in second place with a 5-4 record, while Arizona, at 4-6, occupies third.

  49ers Cardinals
Moneyline -480 +370
Spread -10 (-110) +10 (-110)
Over/under O42.5 (-118) U42.5 (-104)
  Courtesy of FanDuel  

The Cardinals boast a strong offense behind QB Kyler Murray and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who have become a powerful force. However, Murray isn’t going to be active due to a hamstring injury.

That’s going to make things tough. Murray and Hopkins, who missed the first six weeks due to suspension, were just developing a rhythm. Now, the All-Pro will have to see what he can do with backup QB Colt McCoy.

In addition, tight end Zach Ertz is out due to injury for the rest of the year. The shakeup of the roster is going to put undue strain on the Cards offense today.

On the other side of the ball, the Niners, for the most part, have been able to count on veteran QB Jimmy Garoppolo. However, the real stars are wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Christian McCaffrey.

The Carolina Panthers gave up on their most powerful offensive weapon when they traded him to the Niners only a couple of weeks ago, and he’s already proving his value.

On defense, San Fran has defensive end Nick Bosa and linebacker Fred Warner. Their abilities, coupled with those of Samuel and McCaffrey, translate into solid results for the 49ers.

San Fran Ready For Revenge

The 49ers don’t ask much of Garoppolo anymore, preferring to rely on his relentless running game and a strong defense. That plan ran into some trouble a month ago, but things look a lot better now. The 49ers should be confident as they aim to improve on their perfect 3-0 record in the NFC West and hope to have the division closed by the time the teams meet again in the final week of the regular season.

The total for this game seems to underestimate the ability of these offenses to put on a show for the fans in Mexico City. The party atmosphere should inspire both to showcase their offensive talents, and the 49ers have plenty of options with McCaffrey at running back.

The Cardinals’ attacking style means they don’t play in many defensive battles, and it’s possible this game could turn out to be a high-scoring matchup. Whoever plays quarterback, Arizona seems more of a threat now that Hopkins is back, as he has averaged 99 receiving yards in his four games since he returned to the team.

San Fran has a particularly large fanbase in Mexico – much larger than that of Arizona. It’s so big, in fact, that head coach Kyle Shanahan had to send out a plea to fans so they wouldn’t make too much noise when the Niners offense is on the field.

The sportsbooks have the Niners way out in front, but both teams are going to impress. The over/under seems a little tame for what’s in store today.

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