Arizona Cardinals must stop the run to emerge victorious in Week 11
By Jim Koch
The Arizona Cardinals defense will have to deal with the formidable rushing attack of the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night.
Roughly one month ago, the Arizona Cardinals watched in horror as one of the NFL’s most talented running backs made his way to the NFC West. The San Francisco 49ers orchestrated a trade for Christian McCaffrey, and the Cards quickly realized that their upcoming matchups with the division rival would be much more challenging.
Arizona will get their first crack at the new-look 49ers when they take on their divisional foe on Monday night. To achieve victory, the Redbirds will have to key on a formidable San Francisco rushing attack that’s led by McCaffrey. Will Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph have his group prepared to tackle such a difficult task?
The 49ers will bring the league’s 13th-ranked running game into their Week 11 clash with “Big Red”. McCaffrey and company are averaging 123.7 yards per game, and will go up against a Cards defense that is giving up 110.5 yards on the ground per contest.
Arizona has struggled a bit versus the run since starting defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence suffered a shoulder injury in Week 7. Leki Fotu, Jonathan Ledbetter and Trysten Hill are being asked to pick up the slack, but the drop-off in talent has been apparent.
Arizona Cardinals will face a trio of dangerous ball-carriers on Monday night
McCaffrey isn’t the only dangerous San Francisco ball-carrier that the Cardinals will have to deal with. Elijah Mitchell, fresh off of an eight-week stint on the injured-reserve list, rushed for 89 yards last Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers. The Niners use dynamic wide receiver Deebo Samuel out of the backfield as well.
The star of the show, however, is McCaffrey. In his three games with San Francisco, the 26-year-old has already racked up 288 yards from scrimmage and has scored three touchdowns. McCaffrey also showed off his passing skills when he hooked up with wideout Brandon Aiyuk for a 34-yard score in Week 8.
Shutting down the 49ers running attack will force quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to make plays through the air. The Cards have emerged victorious against the 31-yard passer the last two times they have faced him. Keep McCaffrey and the other San Francisco backs in check, and Arizona could very well leave Mexico City with a badly-needed triumph.
(Statistics provided by Pro Football Reference)
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