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5 Qs and 5 As with Revenge of the Birds: What’s the difference between Kyler Murray and Colt McCoy?

Everything you need to know about the Arizona Cardinals before Monday night’s matchup with Seth Cox from Revenge of the Birds.

Arizona Cardinals v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

According to DraftKings SportsBook, the Niners are 8.5-point favorites as the “road team” against the Arizona Cardinals in Mexico City. Current estimates project the Estadio Azteca to be filled with an overwhelming 82% Niner fans.

Another notch in the Niners' favor is that the Cardinals might be without their starting quarterback for the second straight week. DeAndre Hopkins has been listed as questionable, and, as detailed below, their offensive line is a bit more than banged up.

To help give fans an idea of what to expect out of Arizona during the first matchup of the season between these two division rivals, I reached out with five questions for Seth Cox at Revenge of the Birds to give us the advanced scouting report.

1. The Niners and Cardinals face off for the first time this year in prime time on Monday Night Football. Further disrupting their routine schedules, the game will be played in Mexico City at an elevation of 7,200 ft. San Francisco has uprooted from their practice facility to Colorado Springs to help adjust to playing in such thin air. So what are the Cardinals doing to prepare for this added wrinkle?

The Arizona Cardinals did not want to disrupt what is not working, so they practiced at home and went out a day early on Saturday this week.

According to Kliff Kingsbury: “(Strength and Conditioning coach) Buddy (Morris) does a tremendous job with all those things,” Kingsbury said. “He did all sorts of research on it, and we felt like the program we could set up here for all the altitude training was really good and wouldn’t disrupt our routine, so they’ve been at it for the last two or three weeks. All of our guys have been on it trying to prep for that, but I know it’ll be a challenge either way, whether you do that or not. We’ve just got to line up and try to play our best football.”

They are doing stationary bike work with elevation masks on as well, but you know why try and go to elevation when you can just do nothing?

2. Jeremy Fowler reported that Kyle Murray might miss “another week or so.” Keeping in mind Colt McCoy’s performance last week against the Rams and his time as a starter last season, which included a road beat down of the Niners, how comfortable do you feel entering this matchup with McCoy as the starter?

There are a lot of questions on what the best road to go is, and of course, Colt McCoy is hurting as well, so maybe we all get to enjoy Trace McSorely.

McCoy does a nice job of trying to keep the offense on schedule, and if it happens, the Cardinals, in general, do a nice job. Think of it this way, the Cardinals averaged the second lowest amount of yards per play on the season in their win over the Rams last week with McCoy at the helm.

The Cardinals did a nice job of keeping ahead of the Rams, which means they don’t have to ask McCoy to do too much. If they can do so against a much better team this week in the San Francisco 49ers, then maybe it works, but at the end of the day, Murray gives this team the best chance to win.

3. Vance Joseph’s defense has undoubtedly been the strength of the team, which has allowed the Cardinals to stay in contests as the offense has struggled to find consistency. However, statistically, the D ranks near the bottom of the league in points and yards allowed. Can you explain this dichotomy between eye test and stats? Is it a bend, don’t break philosophy? Or are a few particularly bad games weighing down the average?

I mean, I think a lot of it is that they don’t have a ton of talent. They are developing Zaven Collins and Isaiah Simmons nicely, while Byron Murphy Jr. had made a jump this season when healthy, but their front line is J.J. Watt, Zach Allen, and… And Watt is still good, but he’s not a game-wrecker like he once was.

Instead, what happens is they lack any pass rush, their cornerbacks are decent, not great, and asking average cornerbacks to cover for a long time is the worst possible idea in the world. You have to have dominant coverage or a great pass rush if you want a good defense. Having neither gets you what the Cardinals do.

They are bend but don’t break, but they break a whole lot.

Most of that stems from they make three to four plays a game that allow them to not give up big plays, but I don’t know if I have ever witnessed a team who gives up more 12+ play touchdown drives.

It seems like it happens weekly.

That is why those numbers above are so bad. Teams just dominate time and yardage on three to four drives a game, and those numbers pile up.

4. On the other side of the ball, things have looked… not great. Even after DeAndre Hopkins returned from his six-game suspension, the offense has topped out at 30 points in Week 7 vs. the Saints. There have been injuries, screaming matches on the sideline, and general inconsistencies across the board. Can you pinpoint the root cause of all these issues, and do you think the Cardinals could put it all together squaring off against the Niners’ smothering defense?

Offensive line, quarterback, then just inconsistency with timing until Hopkins got back.

I mean, long story short, the team missed both Marquise Brown and Kyler Murray at different times for most of training camp, decided not to play any starters in the preseason, and then used the first three weeks to develop that game timing.

Then, in that time, Rodney Hudson and Justin Pugh both got injured. Then their next best guard was injured, and now they have four backups along the offensive line and are on their third center, who kind of stinks.

All of that makes for sometimes unwatchable offensive play and frustration from everyone, the players, coaches, and mostly the fans who have to deal with this product.

Someone, please get them help.

5. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Niners are currently 8.5-point favorites, and 43.5 is the over/under. Could you give us your prediction for how you think this game will play out and what the final score will be?

Unknown makes that line high with the over/under low. This team has to find a way to control the tempo of the game and make Jimmy Garoppolo beat them. If that happens, they have a shot, but if it becomes the Christian McCaffrey and Elijiah Mitchell show, then this is going to be a boring, methodical, and slow death.

No matter who the quarterback is, I do see the 49ers as victorious in this one, just not covering.

If the Cardinals have Colt McCoy as their starting quarterback: 49ers 23 Cardinals 16

If the Cardinals have Kyler Murray as their starting quarterback: 49ers 27, Cardinals 24

Good luck and good health on Monday Night Football.