Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports


5 Keys to a 49ers Win Over the Cardinals in Mexico City

Nov 20, 2022 at 7:00 AM--



The San Francisco 49ers face the Arizona Cardinals in an NFC West matchup on Monday Night Football In México City. The 49ers are coming in with a two-game win streak, and the team is looking to improve to 4-0 in the NFC West. If the 49ers want to defeat the Cardinals on Monday night, they must complete these five tasks to secure a victory.

CONTAIN the Quarterbacks


It doesn't matter if the quarterback is Kyler Murray (hamstring) or Colt McCoy (knee)—the 49ers must be disciplined, especially on the edges. The Cardinals were a playoff team last season, and Murray remembers that. He will do whatever it takes to get a win for the Cardinals. If Murray plays, expect designed runs to the outside.

Murray is also dangerous for runs up the middle, so if the 49ers are not going to spy on Murray, someone is going to need to be able to get to him before he hits that second gear. Hopefully, defensive back Jimmie Ward has taken notice because, earlier this week, he dared Murray to run.

As for McCoy, I wouldn't expect too many designed runs, but he is a veteran that knows how to make plays in the air and on the ground. If the edges don't contain either of these quarterbacks, it can be a long night in that high altitude in Mexico City.

SHADOW D-Hop


Deandre Hopkins single-handedly made the Cardinals a better team in his return. He has looked like one of the top wide receivers in the NFL since week seven. This past offseason, the 49ers signed cornerback Charvarius "Mooney" Ward. Ward has proven to be one of the best lockdown man-to-man defenders in the NFL. Though Ward typically plays one side of the field, this may be the time and the game to change that style of play. Put the best cover corner on their best wide receiver and force the quarterback of the Cardinals to beat them with his other options.

This isn't about not having faith in second-year cornerback Deommodore Lenoir—it's about the matchup. Number one versus number one. If Jimmie Ward is going to play in the slot, allow him to cover the shifty guy. It would be interesting if the Cardinals lined up Hopkins in the slot. It may make sense to let Jimmie Ward partake in that matchup. It would be a reunion, nonetheless. Man up, shadow Hopkins, and the 49ers should be walking into another victory.

BE DISCIPLINED


It seems like this simple mantra goes unnoticed every week, and the 49ers miss out on many opportunities due to undisciplined football. I haven't addressed this since week one against the Chicago Bears, but the silly penalties kill this team every time. How ironic, though, because in week one, linebacker Dre Greenlaw had two unnecessary roughness penalties. In Week 10, Greenlaw was ejected from the game due to a questionable call and blow to the head on Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert. The 49ers will need just about every player they travel to Mexico with to seal the deal. The team must find a way to be disciplined and eliminate the silly penalties that would keep the defense on the field longer or eliminate scoring opportunities for the offense.

Let Kittle DOMINATE


Usually, I wouldn't suggest forcing the ball to the 49ers tight end George Kittle. However, when facing the Cardinals, my thought process is much different. If I could only choose one matchup for this game, it would be Budda Baker vs. George Kittle. These two players are the Energon (Transformers) cubes for their teams. In their previous matchups, Baker usually sets it off, and Kittle TRANSFORMS.

Garoppolo needs to get his tight end involved early so Kittle can unlock and unleash energy the 49ers can feed off. In Kittle's latest presser, he said he sometimes has to remind Garoppolo that he's wide open. Though Kittle may be excellent in pass protection and run blocking, he needs to be utilized as a pass-catching tight end. Get the ball to Kittle, let him dominate, and the 49ers will walk out with another win.

SCORE Touchdowns


Last weekend, the 49ers were two of five in the red zone against the Chargers. This must be fixed if the 49ers plan to continue to win through the remainder of the season. Whether it was a Brandon Aiyuk drop, a missed block by Mike McGlinchey, a slip by Elijah Mitchell, or an untimely penalty that pushed the team out of the red zone, the 49ers must not fail to capitalize off of these scoring opportunities. Getting field goals is reasonable, but scoring touchdowns is incredible, especially when the defense gives up an average of 15 points per game.

If the 49ers can turn their three-point opportunities into seven-point scores, they could finally start separating themselves from the other teams in the league. My rule is to double the number of points the defense gives up. The 49ers could easily score 30 points a game, but the team fails to capitalize on their opportunities. It's simple—score touchdowns, win the game.

In conclusion...

Some may say that getting one of these keys to work is hard, and getting all five keys is almost impossible. I would respectfully disagree. If the 49ers want to show that they're in the top tier of the league, then they need to win, and they can do just that by conquering these five keys.
  • Written by:
    Wayne Breezie is a 49ers content creator. He had his first guest appearance on Ronbosports in 2012. He began writing for a Facebook group called the League of the 49ers. Next, he began writing for Nothing But Niners in 2017. In 2018, Wayne Breezie made his debut on YouTube’s Nothing But Niners show. In 2019, he started his podcast called Nitty Gritty Niners. After putting the pen down for several years, Breezie saw an opportunity to write for 49erscap.com. His first published article was in January of 2022 with 49ersCap, and he currently writes and produces weekly podcasts.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.
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