By Conor Perrett

The NFL is heading to Mexico this week! 

Monday Night Football’s NFC West battle is being played in a neutral-site matchup at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. All eyes will be on the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals in Week 11 with the latter especially needing a win to keep their playoff chances alive.

Arizona Cardinals (4-6)

Power Rankings – 19th 

DVOA Rankings: Offence – 28th, Defence – 21st, ST – 22nd: Overall – 29th

The big question for the Cardinals is: Will Kyler Murray take the field in Mexico? 

Murray is a game-time decision for the game so there’s the potential we might see the former No. 1 overall pick in action. Still the Cardinals proved last time they can overcome Kyler’s injury with Colt McCoy playing well last week and heading the side to victory. But beating a healthy 49ers team will be a lot tougher than the Superbowl hungover Rams!

No team has trailed more often this season than the Cardinals in terms of time of possession, number of offensive plays run while trailing and number of defensive plays while trailing. It’s hampered their offence tremendously and been a main cause for their downfall. Not getting into a rhythm and giving your defence a break is a receipt for disaster, which Kliff Kingsbury has cooked up almost every weekend this season. 

It looks like an uphill battle for the supposed home team, as the odds are stacked up against them. Missing tight-end Zach Ertz will be a loss as Deandre Hopkins and James Connors the only difference-makers on the offence. 

San Francisco 49ers (5-4)

Power Rankings – 7th

DVOA Rankings: Offence – 14th, Defence – 8th, ST – 23rd: Overall – 11th

The 49ers are healthy again with only defensive-tackle Arik Armstead missing for tonight’s Mexican NFL matchup. 

They could also move into first place in the NFC West standings with a win. With Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel both available and the offence and defence complementing one another, Kyle Shanahan’s squad has a real opportunity in Week 11 to set themselves up nicely for the back stretch of the season.

It’s no secret that the 49ers have striven to build an offence that excels after the catch, with solid conservative quarterback play. It allows them to still yack up the big passing plays without putting the football at risk. It just so happens the 49ers are first in the league for YAC/reception, with Arizona’s defence having the highest YAC/reception allowed across the NFL. Consider this a major advantage to the Niners on offence.

On defence this unit has been playing elite for the majority of the year. San Fran’s defence has been formidable for the past few years, though they have been seen to slip at times. These ‘times’ show when they have faced the Cardinals, as their offence seems to cause them trouble. Even without Murray last year, Colt McCoy took this 49ers team down and may have a chance to do it again.

Previous Match-ups

2021 Season:

Week 5 – 49ers @ Cardinals, 10-17 Cardinals Win

Week 9 – Cardinals @ 49ers, 31-17 Cardinals Win

Arizona surprisingly swept the Niners in last year’s match-ups, winning comfortably in both games. Take this with a pinch of salt though, as both matches were played in the first half of the season, when the Cardinals started the season 9-0, before they inevitably went crashing downhill.


The 49ers are a talented football team that runs the ball well and hits hard on defence. On their day it can be hard to stop them, but we have seen limitations with Jimmy Garoppolo back at starter. 

Their non-explosive offence leads to a predictable risk-free play-style that when caught from playing behind, can be an issue. Starting off fast against the Niners will be the Cardinals best way of attack, if they want the chance to get an upset in Mexico.

The Cardinals have been on and off when it comes to stopping the run though, and they face their biggest challenge against San Fran. Arizona’s defence has been one of their biggest disappointments to date. 

Resources were put into it with JJ Watt and Isiah Simmons being high profile additions that just haven’t quite hit yet. A night in the lights against San Francisco hopefully will just be the time to flash.

I’m going with the 49ers in this one. 

49ers 24-17 Cardinals

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