Tonight is truly a historic match-up.
Two teams battling for the first overall pick AND to only be one game out of the division lead after 11 games.
The people at ESPN must be going apoplectic trying to sell advertising revenue. Things being what they are, the winner of this game will have the sterling record of 4-7 and be a mere one game behind Seattle and St. Louis.
Quick aside, where does Sam Bradford's season rank amongst the great rookie QBs? Peyton Manning and Dan Marino were both brilliant—if Bradford continues at this pace, doesn't he have to rank with them? His best receiver is Danny Amendola, no offense to Danny, but he wasn't even the first pick in his family's annual Turkey day game (ok, I made that up). Can you tell I'm trying to waste time and not talk about tonight's game?
Let's be honest, neither team is very good, and that's coming from a life-long Niner fan, but facts are facts.
The Niners have played better recently, winning three of their last five. Had they been more adept at closing out games they'd be in first place.
Troy Smith has looked mostly adequate and sometimes spectacular. This up and down is all too common with Niner QB's named "Smith."
Frank Gore has been solid all year despite the incredibly unimaginative play calling. At least five times a game they will run him right up the middle where he'll be stopped cold; at least twice a game they'll follow up that play with the exact same play and encounter the exact same result; basically the personification of the definition of insanity.
The Niners' receiving targets are a pure gamble because the QB and play calling prevents them from reaching full potential. That being said, the Cardinals are middle of the road in points allowed to opposing QB's and WR's, so you have a puncher's chance.
Do you think the Cardinals regret letting Matt Leinart go? Max Hall is not ready for prime time (hard to imagine considering he's an undrafted 25-year-old rookie) and Derek Anderson is somehow still dining out on a ten game stretch from 2007.
Look, Leinart is not great, but he showed flashes as a rookie and since then, has never really been given a clear shot to start; why not give him a season? Honestly, was he any worse than what they've trotted out there each week? The QB's merry-go-round has destroyed the value of possibly the best receiver in the game, Larry Fitzgerald and has hampered a once decent running attack.
As a Niner fan, I'll pick them to win on the road, but I don't feel good about it. Either way, tonight's fan bases will either be in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes or in the hunt for the division crown. Are you ready for some football?
Written by Chris Summers, exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com