- SF has a big rush advantage over the Cardinals. Expect a big night from Coleman.
- George Kittle will be facing a Cardinals defense ranked 31st in yards allowed to TEs
- Kyler Murray should struggle against the best defense he has faced this year, by far
SF Offense vs ARI Defense:
- The Niners are the league’s most run-heavy offense and in one-score game situations have run the ball 58% of the time.
- They rank as the eighth-best DVOA run offense going up against the 26th ranked DVOA run defense in Arizona.
- SF is fifth in adjusted line yards on offense, per Football Outsiders, and the Cardinals are 22nd in adjusted line yards defensively, so the Niners have a big advantage at the line of scrimmage.
- Also, SF is ninth in explosive run percentage with the Cardinals defense allowing the seventh-highest explosive run percentage in the NFL
- However you slice it, the Niners have a big advantage in the run game.
- Tevin Coleman is coming off a monster game against Carolina, with 11 carries for 105 yards and 3 TDs. Raheem Mostert and Matt Breida also combined for 20 carries and 95 yards, but both are questionable tonight. On a short week, it is a big question if one or both plays. Amazingly, all three RBs rank in the top 16 in the NFL in explosive run percentage. If Coleman gets a majority of the carries (20+), another 100-yard game should be in the works.
- Based on the run matchup, I am not sure how much SF will rely on Jimmy Garoppolo to throw the ball. The Niners are 16th in DVOA pass offense and will be going up against the 27th ranked Arizona pass defense.
- When the Niners do throw the ball, expect George Kittle and Emmanuel Sanders to receive a bunch of the targets. Arizona has allowed a 26% target share to TEs, which ranks in the top 5 for highest allowed and ranks 30th in success rate and dead last in yards per attempt allowed at 9.9.
- What’s amazing about the yardage number allowed to TEs is if you adjust for the schedule of TEs faced that number is even worse. Their opponents rank as having the fourth-lowest yards per attempt gained to TEs.
- Arizona as has allowed big games to TEs all season. Austin Hooper caught 8 for 117 yards and 1 TD, Will Dissly 7 for 57 and 1 TD, Greg Olsen 6 for 75 and 2 TDs, Mark Andrews 8 for 112 and 1 TD, and T.J. Hockenson 6 for 131 and 1 TD. They did hold Evan Engram in check during Week 7 but he was coming off an injury and the Giants struggle to put together a coherent gameplan.
- Arizona is 31st in yards per game allowed to TEs at 89.7. Kittle has faced two teams in the bottom 10 in yards per game allowed to TEs in Tampa and the LA Rams. Kittle caught 8 for 54 against Tampa on a season-high 10 targets and 8 receptions for 103 yards against the Rams.
- For the season, Kittle is averaging 5.7 receptions and 66 yards per game against a schedule of opposing defenses that have allowed, in aggregate, an average of 6.5 receptions and 54.1 yards per game. Expect a good game from Kittle as well and anything south of 70 yards would be below my expectations.
- Emmanuel Sanders received 5 targets with 4 receptions for 25 yards and a TD in his debut. He was in on a team WR high 82% of offensive snaps.
- Sanders spent 50% of his snaps in the slot last week, taking over for Dante Pettis. Tramaine Brock is the lead Arizona defender in the slot and he has been bad this season. Brock ranks 60th out of 71 slot defenders according to passer rating allowed. He has allowed the sixth-most yards after the catch as well. Sanders should see some quality targets whenever he does line up in the slot.
ARI Offense vs SF Defense:
- As good as the offense has been for SF, it is the defense that has impressed even more, and you can see it in this matchup for tonight.
- Arizona is fourth in DVOA run offense but that is with a healthy David Johnson and Chase Edmonds. Edmonds is out and Johnson is questionable. That would lead to Kenyan Drake getting most or all of the RB carries up against the 15th ranked SF run defense.
- As good as the Niners defense has been, they have been a bit susceptible to big run plays. They rank 18th in explosive runs allowed and are 29th in open field yards. They are also 22nd in second-level yards allowed. The Niners are excellent at stopping the run at the line of scrimmage but if an RB gets past the first level of defense, there are yards to be had.
- Kyler Murray and the Cardinals pass offense ranks 25th in DVOA and will be facing their toughest test of the season against the No. 1 ranked Niner pass defense.
- SF has allowed an average of only 176 passing yards per game in their last 4. SF is allowing only 4.5 yards per attempt to a schedule of opponents who have averaged 6.5 yards per attempt on the season.
- Murray is only averaging 6.8 yards per attempt against the fourth-easiest schedule of opposing pass defenses. Murray has only faced one top 10 DVOA pass defense, the Carolina Panthers, and struggled badly. He went 30/43 for 173 yards, 4.0 ypa, and 2 INTs. Expect something similar tonight.
- SF comes in with the third-ranked pass rush, according to PFF, and Murray has only faced one top 13 pass rush, again the Carolina Panthers. He was sacked 8 times in that game.
- If we want to use that Carolina game as a proxy for tonight, Christian Kirk led the Cardinals in targets with 12 and caught 10 for 59 yards. Johnson and Edmonds received 11 combined targets as well. Without an RB who knows the system, it will be interesting to see who Murray targets on dump offs when pressured.
- If Kingsbury wants to avoid getting Murray killed tonight, I would expect lots of quick, short throws to Kirk.
ATS Side I like tonight:
No Play (Sorry)