PHOENIX - Is the Big Red ready for the Big Stage known as Monday Night Football? Along with the rest of the nation, we will find out with first place on the line in the NFC West.
Don't think the suits at ESPN don't know what they're doing. This is the fifth time in the last six seasons that the Cardinals and 49ers have matched up on MNF. Why? Well, let's just say that there will be three shades of red on display: Cardinals, Niners, and blood.
Although, if you talk to the Cardinals players, they'll tell you that the color scheme is really black & blue. It will be physical. It will be vocal. It will be hard fought. Literally. In fact, instead of football, it'll be more like "foot-brawl."
Don't forget that the defending division champs are 15-4 against NFC West foes since 2009. And SF has done it with a dominant rushing attack (currently second in the NFL with 1,246 yards rushing).
And it's worth noting that Arizona's 7th ranked defense is just 20th against the run, allowing 166 yards rushing vs. Minnesota and 165 vs. Buffalo in the last two games.
Last season, the Cardinals beat San Francisco at home – one of only three 49ers losses in 2011. John Skelton replaced Kevin Kolb after the first series and threw for 282 yards and three TD's (with two INT's). Larry Fitzgerald torched the Niners vaunted defense with 7 catches for 149 yards and a TD.
A Cardinals' win ties the 49ers atop the division standings. A loss by the Red Birds gives San Francisco a two-game lead midway thru the regular season.