Coffee, soda, energy drink, crack—whatever your preferred stimulant, you’re going to need a double shot of if your goal is to stay awake during what figures to be a Monday night snoozer between the 49ers and Cardinals.
The stats: Among the NFL’s 32 teams, San Francisco ranks first in total defense (272.3 yards per game), first in passing defense (173.4 ypg) and tied for first in scoring defense (allowing 14.3 points per game). Arizona ranks fourth in scoring defense (16.9 ppg), sixth in total defense (312.1 ypg), fourth in passing defense (191.3 ypg) and fifth in sacks (22). San Francisco has given up 35 points in its last four games — and 26 of those came in a 26-3 loss to the Giants. Arizona hasn’t allowed more than 21 points in a game all season.
About the only area where both teams struggle is stopping the run — the 49ers rank 10th (99 ypg) and the Cardinals are 20th (121 ypg). Gee, you think both offenses might try to run the ball a bit tonight — especially when the quarterbacks are named Alex Smith and John Skelton?
Only two of San Francisco’s games have gone over the total this year: a season-opening 30-22
win at Green Bay (when the teams combined for 22 fourth-quarter points) and a 45-3 home rout of Buffalo (that one went over only after the Niners punched in a meaningless TD with 71 seconds to play). That Bills result was the only San Francisco contest in the last five that’s featured more than 37 combined points. Meanwhile, going back to their final preseason game, the Cardinals have seen the under cash in seven of their last eight outings. The only exception? A crazy overtime game against Miami in which 20 points were scored in the first three quarters and 25 points were scored thereafter (including an 80-yard Dolphins scoring pass).
As far as this rivalry goes, four of the last six meetings have stayed low, and here were the
final scores in those four contests: 20-16, 24-9, 27-6 and 23-7. Oh, and for the record, I’ve hit five consecutive Daily Bets — and that streak would be at six had Jim Harbaugh not turned down a last-second safety in that Thursday night game against Seattle.
Rating:★ ★ ★ ☆
Friday’s Result: UNR-Air Force OVER 66.5 (W)
Pending Result: Giants (+140) vs. Cardinals to win World Series (W)