Cardinals vs. 49ers: What should you be watching for?

Bruce Kluckhohn-US PRESSWIRE

What should fans be looking out for as the Cardinals host the 49ers for all the nation to see on Monday Night Football.

The Arizona Cardinals will host the San Francisco 49ers tonight on Monday Night Football hoping to end a three game skid and tie themselves for first place with the 49ers for the NFC West division lead. The Cardinals are having to overcome injuries to some very key pieces to their team, such as quarterback Kevin Kolb, which will make their task all the more difficult.

Speaking of Kolb, how will his replacement John Skelton play? Skelton, despite what the stats show, did not have the greatest of games against the Vikings last week and still has not shown that he can consistently lead the offense down the field. Against a stingy run defense, Skelton may be asked to throw the ball more than he is accustomed to.

Can the Cardinals keep Skelton upright, though? They have the worst pass protecting offensive line in the league and against some talented pass rushers in Aldon Smith, Justin Smith and Ray McDonald, the Cards will need to bring their A game. Guard Adam Snyder is questionable to play, so look for Rich Ohrnberger to take his place at right guard if Snyder cannot go.

Can the Cardinals' defense stop Frank Gore and the rest of the talented San Fran running backs? They allowed Adrian Peterson to rush for over 150 yards last week and they know that Gore is no walk in the park. The 49ers feature one of the best run blocking lines in the NFL, which should make for an interesting matchup.

If they can force Alex Smith into having to throw the ball a lot, the hope is that they can get pressure on him. Arizona did a good job of hitting Christian Ponder often last weekend, holding him to under 100 yards passing.

Perhaps the most interesting matchup will be between Randy Moss and the Cardinals secondary. If Arizona decides to put Patrick Peterson on him, it will be a battle between a future Hall of Fame receiver and the kid that grew up wanting to be him.

In all, this could be a low scoring game, so it may come down to which quarterback has the better game. Expect a great matchup for your Monday night.

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