Cardinals vs. 49ers: Time, how to watch, live stream, key matchups, and ‘Monday Night Football’ picks

In the final game of Week 11, the NFL gives us the latest entry in its international series as the Arizona Cardinals “host” the San Francisco 49ers at Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca.

The Cardinals will likely be without starting quarterback Kyler Murray, which means Colt McCoy will be under center. Arizona had a win over a top-tier opponent with McCoy in the game last week, but that game came against an opposing quarterback as well. Technically, the 49ers have started as the backup quarterback, since Jimmy Garoppolo took over after Tre Lance’s season-ending injury, but that’s a very different situation with John Walford playing in place of Matthew Stafford.

San Francisco has won twice in a row since losing the first game in the Christian McCaffrey era, and has a chance to advance. Will the Niners hold their streak, or will the Cardinals drop out of upset? We’ll find out soon enough. Before we break down the match, here’s how to watch the match.

How do you watch

Date: Monday 21 November | time: 8:15 p.m. ET
Site: Azteca Stadium (Mexico City, Mexico)
Television: ESPN | Stream: fuboTV (try for free)
Follow: CBS Sports app
Prospect: 49ers -8, O/U 43 (Courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook)

When the 49ers have the ball

A few weeks ago, we wrote about the kinds of things we can expect the 49ers to do offensively with Christian McCaffrey in the fold:

Shanahan is one of the most creative game designers in the league, and McCaffrey has a finesse unparalleled in the NFL. Since entering the league in 2017, McCaffrey has ranked 11th among running backs in snaps lined up as a wide receiver, and third in snaps lined up in the slot, according to Tru Media.

Combine his flexibility with that of Deebo Samuel, as well as Kyle Juszczyk and even Brandon Aiyuk, and we’ll see the Niners get into some pretty wild stuff. Samuel, of course, is the first of all wide receivers to line up in the background. He’s been there 15% of his picks this season, which is nearly as many times as he has appeared in the slot (19%). Juszczyk, who is a fullback and thus plays a much lighter load than most runners, still achieves sixth among backfielders in wide putts and second in slots…

It’s pretty easy to imagine the Niners dropping McCaffrey into a lot of the things they do in terms of moving players to different positions and getting the ball in creative ways, largely because even a particularly bad Panthers offense found ways to do it every single time. a period. Whether that’s lining up the slot, sending him into orbital motion, or sending him wide for a smoke screen with a block in front of him, we’ve seen a bunch of things in the Carolinas that we’re likely to see in San Francisco…

But the 49ers can get even more ambitious with McCaffrey because unlike, say, Jeff Wilson Jr. or Elijah Mitchell, or even Joszek, he’s an elite threat who runs home runs as a runner and receiver. Bringing him in in place of one of those three players could create more space for players like Samuel, and having Samuel in the backfield or Juszczyk wide or in the slot could create confusion for teams and therefore more space to work with McCaffrey…

The passing game stuff San Francisco should be able to hit with CMC on the field might be even more exciting. The concepts will remain the same, but who aligns with where and how that threatens opposing defenses will constantly change. Imagine the Niners lining up in a spread look, turning Samuel into the background, sending Juszczyk into motion and faking a rendition to Samuel in this direction, then flipping a quick screen over to McCaffrey the other way. Or Samuel in the backfield, Juszczyk wide, CMC in the slot, and Aiyuk split to the same side of the field.

And in the three games that CMC had with their new team, we saw all of that and more. But in the latter game, we also saw the Niners tend to have Elijah Mitchell turn to McCaffrey for some low-leverage running business, so they can maximize what they get from their new superstar.

McCaffrey got all the work on third down and most of the goal-line work, but gave up some early stuff and got almost nothing from winning away with the team’s follow-up multi-score late fill. And why should he? Mitchell is a fine player anyway, and there’s no real reason to risk McCaffrey’s health in those situations. It helps that Mitchell ran very effectively, which he should be able to do in this contest as well, given his skill set and the relative weakness of the Arizona defense compared to the San Francisco shutout. Even if he didn’t get the 18 gestational gigs he did a week ago, he should be getting some work in here.

San Francisco will certainly use the threat of both McCaffrey and Mitchell to spice up the passing game, and we’ll see our fair share of screens going to Samuel, Aiyuk, and Kittle to keep Arizona’s pass in balance. Things probably won’t be particularly explosive unless someone creates a lot of YAC, but it’s very likely to be effective.

When the Cardinals have the ball

So, it looks like Colt McCoy will be under Arizona’s center, as Kyler Murray looks set to miss another game due to a weak hamstring.

McCoy started last week against the Rams, completing 26 of 37 passes for 238 yards and a touchdown. In three games involving Murray last season, McCoy went 74-of-99 for 740 yards, three touchdowns, and a pick. This is actually very good! That doesn’t quite line up with McCoy’s performance throughout the rest of his career (62.2% completion rate, 6.6 yards per attempt, 34 touchdowns vs. 29 interceptions, and 8.3% sack rate), though, so we probably shouldn’t expect a repeat—especially against a defense As good as San Francisco. For a player who plays infrequently and thus creates uncertainty, it is important to think about what we already know will happen in this match.

So, what do we know? We know the Cardinals will spread the field. We know they will try to get the ball to DeAndre Hopkins as much as possible. We know James Conner will take the vast majority of the shots on the court. We know Rondel Moore will be the main man down the line, and the absence of Zach Ertz will change things up a bit on that front. (But we don’t know what to expect from rookie Trey McBride.) And we know the Niners will likely generate a lot of pressure against an offensive line that looks likely to be fatigued.

None of this sounds like a recipe for offensive success. McCoy may be defying expectations, but it’s hard to imagine how that would play out against this particular opponent.

Featured game | Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers

Prediction: 49ers 24, Cardinals 10

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