Week 9 kicks off with a surprisingly good matchup for once! During pre-season this may have looked like a shitshow but both teams have overperformed their expectations with the Niners still undefeated at 7-0 and the scrappy Cardinals at 3-4-1. This would normally be an enormous divisional matchup, but the Niners have a little bit of breathing room ahead of the 2nd place Seahawks, up by 1.5 games. Nonetheless, they’ll look to stay undefeated tonight against a Cardinals team that is clearly overmatched on paper.
The Niners have been the story of the season thus far, winning games with a dominant defense. They’re 2nd in the league in point differential behind the Cheatriots, and have genuinely looked like the fastest team in the league on both ends of the field. Nick Bosa is somehow both a rookie, and a contender for defensive player of the year. He had a pick against Kyle Allen last week that was one of the most athletic plays I’ve ever seen a DE make. JJ Watt had a similar play his rookie season in the playoffs against the Bengals and if that is any sort of indicator, Nick just may have a future in this league! The Niners have been fairly pedestrian offensively,as they are middle of the pack averaging 5.7 YPP, which most would say is surprising for a Kyle Shanhan offense. But he hasn’t asked Jimmy G to do too much, and he has one of the best RB tandems in the league in Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman. Look for the NIners to be methodical offensively, and try to grind the Cards down with their defense.
The Cardinals have been surprisingly competitive thus far, with rookie head coach Kliff Kingsbury and a rookie QB in Kyler Murray. Before the season, we may have expected a bit more offensively from these two, but both are learning as they go, week-to-week here. This is a fascinating experiment from the Arizona front office, and I’m excited to see how things pan out a couple years down the road. It was a matter of time before the NFL went to more pass-heavy offenses, and nothing is a better indicator of that than a Mike Leach disciple failing upwards to a HC job after being below .500 at Texas Tech. Kyler Murray could be the front runner for OROY, and you can tell he has improved each week. However, as the Saints showed last week, his speed can be cancelled out with quick DE’s and exotic blitzes. Murray is a generational talent, but he’s still got a lot to learn. Defensively, Arizona is in the bottom quarter in YPP, allowing over 6 yards per play. They’re also in the bottom third in red zone TD percentage and 3rd down conversion rate allowed. If they’re going to have a chance in this game they need to force a couple of turnovers and shore things up defensively.
Monday Night was another wild night with Miami immediately crushing dreams with 14 quick points. Fortunately for us they are so bad, they didn’t score the rest of the night. Thursday night’s are somehow even harder to read, and we managed to have a double digit road favorite tonight. We’re gonna take a bet on the Niners defense here and bank on them to fluster the rookie HC/QB combo.
- San Francisco -10 -105
- Kyler Murray pass attempted o32.5 -110
- D/ST TD scored +240 .5x