Defensive slugfests are becoming the norm when NFC West foes clash on the gridiron, and Monday night's matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and the Arizona Cardinals should only further that notion.
While it's tough to make the claim that any one loss in late October has the potential to make or break a team's season, this game in particular could do just that for the Red and Gold.
The Niners have looked absolutely dominant for much of the 2012 season, and a win over the Cardinals would once again solidify them as the division's team to beat.
A loss, however, would not only muck up the race for the NFC West crown, it would seriously legitimize concerns that the 49ers are no longer the model of consistency they were throughout 2011.
Let's look at five reasons the Niners' matchup with the Cardinals on Monday Night Football could either make or break the rest of their season.